Coupling soft computing, simulation and optimization in supply chain applications : review and taxonomy

El Raoui, Hanane and Oudani, Mustapha and El Hilali Alaoui, Ahmed (2020) Coupling soft computing, simulation and optimization in supply chain applications : review and taxonomy. IEEE Access, 8. 31710 -31732. ISSN 2169-3536 (

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Supply chain networks are typical examples of complex systems. Thereby, making decisions in such systems remains a very hard issue. To assist decision makers in formulating the appropriate strategies, robust tools are needed. Pure optimization models are not appropriate for several reasons. First, an optimization model cannot capture the dynamic behavior of a complex system. Furthermore, most common practical problems are very constrained to be modeled as simple tractable models. To fill in the gap, hybrid optimization/simulation techniques have been applied to improve the decision-making process. In this paper we explore the near-full spectrum of optimization methods and simulation techniques. A review and taxonomy were performed to give an overview of the broad field of optimization/simulation approaches applied to solve supply chain problems. Since the possibilities of coupling them are numerous, we launch a discussion and analysis that aims at determining the appropriate framework for the studied problem depending on its characteristics. Our study may serve as a guide for researchers and practitioners to select the suitable technique to solve a problem and/or to identify the promising issues to be further explored.