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Research Focus

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Energy-flexible production

The ongoing development of the electricity market as part of the energy turnaround enables cross-sectoral coordination of electricity demand and generation. Energy-flexible factories benefit from the development by making targeted use of short-term price fluctuations on the electricity markets through capacity adjustments and / or by providing balancing energy to stabilize the electricity grid. 

To this end, we develop possibilities to overcome the traditional separation of energy infrastructure and production as well as to include emerging options for energy generation, energy storage and load scaling in the strategic planning of factories. In addition, we develop planning procedures that make it possible to profit from market factory-wide flexibility potentials through the efficient coordination of generation, storage and demand.

Selected Projects

  • Collaborative project MaxFab; Partner: FernUniversit√§t in Hagen, Chairs Corporate Software Systems, Quantitative Methods and Business Mathematics, General Psychology: Learning, Motivation, Emotion as well as associated with Enervie, Evonik, Kirchhoff Automotive, Vossloh
  • Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg: Development of a standardised method kit for the topic of energy and resource efficiency in the VW component


Selected Publication

Fandel, G.; Trockel, J.; Volling, T. (2017): Special issue on interdisciplinarity in operations management, in: Journal of Business Economics, 87(1).

Lot size 1

Currently we notice a remarkable dynamic behavior in the area of production and automation technology. The advancing digitalization makes it possible to drastically improve the interface to customers and to integrate them into the value-adding process. The implementation of lot size 1 on an industrial scale is thus foreseeably moving into the realm of the possible. However, these developments create challenges that we are normally more familiar with from the service sector. In particular, it is becoming increasingly important to find guidelines in dealing with customer-induced variability. In this context, we deal with questions of modeling flexibility as well as the optimal behavior in the context of demand and capacity management. Research work includes: 

Revenue Management: Questions of the contribution margin-optimal use of the stocked capacity are of central importance in order-related production. We work on adapted decision models, solution procedures and software tools that support order evaluation and selection within the framework of medium- and short-term sales negotiations.Order-related production planning: An rising number of variants requires a high degree of flexibility in production. When handling individual customer orders, this flexibility must be orchestrated taking efficiency and service criteria into account. To this end, we are researching ways of recording production-related flexibility on a model basis and making it available in planning models.Logistics: Manufacturing of products with many variants goes hand in hand with a large number of logistical network connections, often characterized by highly fluctuating part requirements. This variability leads to increasing challenges for logistics. We deal with the design, planning, and control of logistics systems to meet these requirements. One focus is the improved coordination of inventory management and transport planning.

Selected Projects

  • HFS, Hagen: Sustainable steel logistics: more service, lower costs                                      
  • Salzgitter AG, Salzgitter: Customer inquiry-oriented restriction testing to optimize acceptance decisions       
  • VDM, Werdohl: Bottleneck-related capacity control through revenue management
  • Volkswagen, Wolfsburg: Revenue Management in Automotive Sales

Selected Publications

Matzke, A.; Volling, T.; Spengler, T. S. (2015): Upgrade-auctions in build-to-order manufacturing with loss-averse customers, in: European Journal of Operational Research, 250(2), pp. 470-479.

Wichmann, M.; Volling, T.; Spengler, T. S. (2014): A GRASP heuristic for slab scheduling at continuous casters, in: OR Spectrum, 36(3), pp. 693-722.

Volling, T.; Matzke, A.; Grunewald, M.; Spengler, T. (2013): Planning of capacities and orders in build-to-order automobile production, European Journal of Operational Research, 224 (2), 240-260 

Hintsches, A.; Spengler, T.; Volling, T.; Wittek, K.; Priegnitz, G. (2010): Revenue Management in Make-To-Order Manufacturing: Case Study of Capacity Control at ThyssenKrupp VDM, Business Research, 3, (2), 173-190

Value creation networks

Increasing competition, shorter technology lifecycles and advanced customer requirements have led to a change in the competitive structures in many industries. As a result, complex value creation networks have formed in which independent companies act together. Mastering this complexity is both an opportunity and a challenge to achieve and maintain lasting competitive advantages. Therefore, a research focus lies on planning and coordination of value creation networks and especially on the development of problem-specific coordination and incentive mechanisms, which enable an intelligent networking structure of the independent actors.

Selected Projects

  • Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg: Development of an approach for the planning of main run relations between supplier- and plant-related crossdocks in the New Logistics Concept (NLK)
  • BMBF joint project SynProd - Synergetic development of mechatronic products in value creation networks; partner: Institute for Machine Tools and Production Engineering, Institute for Design Engineering (TU Braunschweig), various industry partners
  • DFG Project SAKE - System Analysis and Coordination of Flexible Development Processes for Complex Embedded Systems; Partner: Institute for Data Technology and Communication Networks (TU Braunschweig)

Selected Publications

Grunewald, M.; Volling, T.; Spengler, T. (2018): Multi-item, multi-vehicle dynamic lot-sizing problem with detailed loading constraints, accepted for publication in: Journal of Business Economics

Schmidt, K.; Volling, T.; Spengler, T. S. (2014): Towards contract based coordination of distributed product development processes with complete substitution, in: Journal of Business Economics, 2014(5), pp. 665-714.

Volling, T.; Grunewald, M.; Spengler, T. S. (2013): An integrated inventory-transportation system with periodic pick-ups and leveled replenishment, in: BuR Business Research, 6 (2), pp. 173-194


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