AbstractA 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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