Delivery planning problem



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The Delivery Planning Problem (DPP) is faced by every organization which has to satisfy the demands of geographically dispersed customers during the course of everyday business. In general, such a problem may involve several warehouses where products in demand are stored and are to be distributed from, several depots where the delivery vehicles are housed and several constraints relating to vehicles and customers. The problem is to develop feasible routes, on a regular basis, so that the customer demands can be delivered at the minimum cost over a long run. The basic approach taken in this research is to estimate the per period customer demands and develop a plan of routes to deliver these estimated demands. Then, the routes of the plan could be repeatedly used to deliver the actual customer demands over a long run. The plan has to be developed in such a manner that, after actual implementation, the total delivery cost over a long run is minimum. Actual customer demand is one of the factors which determine the delivery costs for each period. The extent of fluctuations in demand between different periods is a factor that may influence the interperiod costs. The actual demand and the fluctuations in them are unknown at the time the plan is developed. Therefore, the actual long run delivery cost can only be considered indirectly while developing the plan. The factors which are likely to affect the total delivery cost over a long run are: 1) cost of delivering the estimated demands, and 2) extent of imbalance among the route work Loads. In this research, a convex combination of these two measures is used as the objective function for developing the plan. A heuristic that would develop routes for a set of estimated customer demands and would provide minimum but sub-optimal value for the above mentioned objective function is developed. [...]



Delivery of goods--Management, Production scheduling