Coordinated Routing applications in location and inventory management

University dissertation from Institutionen för teknik och naturvetenskap

Abstract: Almost everywhere, routing plays an important role in everyday life. This thesis consists of three parts, each studying different applications where routing decisions are coordinated with other decisions. A common denominator in all applications is that an intelligent utilization of a fleet of vehicles is crucial for the performance of the system. In the first part, routing and inventorymanagement decisions are coordinated, in the second part, routing decisions concerning different modes of transportation are coordinated with inventory management, and in the third part, location decision and routing are coordinated.In the first part, an application concerning waste management is presented. Many industries generate garbage, and instead of handling the waste disposal themselves, other companies, specialized in garbage collection, handle the disposal. Each industry rents containers from a company to be used for waste, and the garbage collection companies handle the collection. The industries buy a service including one or more containers at the industry and the garbage collection companies are obliged to make sure that the containers never become overfull. The idea is that the industries buy this service and in return, the garbage collection company can plan the collection so that the overall cost and the number of overfull containers is minimized. Two models for the problem facing the garbage collection company are proposed. The first is solved using a Lagrangean relaxation approach on a flow based model, and the second is solved using Benders decomposition on a column based model.The second part investigates a distribution chain management problem taken from the Swedish pulp industry. Given fixed production plans at the mills, and fixed customer demands, the problem is to minimize the distribution cost. Unlike many other models for marine distribution chains, the customers are not located at the harbors. This means that the model proposed also incorporates the distribution planning from the harbors to the customers. All customers are not served from the harbors; some are served directly from the mills using trucks and trains to distribute the pulp, and these decisions are also included. The problem is modeled as a mixed integer linear program and solved using a branch and price scheme. Due to the complexity of the problem, the solution strategy is divided into two phases, where the first emphasizes the generation of schedules for the vessels operated by the company, while the second deals with the chartering of vessels on the spot market.In the third part, routing is combined with location decisions in the location-routing problem. Special emphasis is given to strategic management where decision makers must make location, capacity and routing decisions over a long planning period. The studied application comes fromstrategic schoolmanagement, where the location and capacity of the schools as well as their catchment areas are under consideration. The problem is modeled as a mixed integer linear program. The computational study shows the importance of incorporatinga routing component allowing multiple visits, as well as the danger of having a too short planning period.