A new approach to solving production management problems in the supply net is proposed. An expert system designed to help companies in medium-term and short-term production planning is discussed. The proposed expert system considers alternative process plans for a job and outsourcing, when a bottleneck exists in the machine. The proposed hybrid system uses the output of the expert system as the input of the genetic algorithm. The output of the genetic algorithm is a near optimal schedule. The proposed method does not require any unrealistic assumptions. It can be used to solve highly complicated and non-linear functions of a realistic problem. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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