Highlights: Logistic approach for the optimization of log yard in terms of arrangement of storage boxes and ejection boxes reduced transportation time by 16 percent compared with the original solution.
This paper presents an optimization approach to minimizing log yard round wood transportation time for a medium sized hardwood sawmill. The log yard, which has to ensure a smooth raw material supply to the entire production process, is the first processing step in a sawmill. The log yard also serves as an internal round wood sorting and storing capacity. Thus, an optimal assignment of ejection boxes, storage boxes and feeding carriages is required to minimize transportation time at a log yard. The main contribution of this paper is to present an integrated approach which simultaneously takes into account log transportation time, storage capacity and yard crane deployment. The approach is based on two steps: a) defining storage spaces per batch and calculating distances and b) determining optimum box assignments in the log yard in order to minimize overall transportation distance. The solution in step b) is compared with the results obtained by random box assignment as well as a spreadsheet based planning method. We have been able to show that our approach is much more flexible and results are more than 16 percent better than the corresponding real life solution.