Volume 38, Number 4, October-December 2004
|Page(s)||345 - 360|
|Published online||15 December 2004|
A threshold accepting approach to the Open Vehicle Routing problem
Management Sciences Laboratory, Athens University of Economics and
Business, Greece; firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Management Sciences Laboratory, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece.
3 Department of Process Analysis and Plant Design, National Technical University of Athens, Greece.
In this paper we consider the operational planning problem of physical distribution via a fleet of hired vehicles, for which the travelling cost is solely a function of the sequence of locations visited within all open delivery routes, while vehicle fixed cost is inexistent. The problem is a special class of vehicle routing and is encountered in the literature as the Open Vehicle Routing Problem (OVRP), since vehicles are not required to return to the depot. The goal is to distribute in an optimal way finished goods from a central facility to geographically dispersed customers, which pose daily demand for items produced in the facility and act as sales points for consumers. To solve the problem, we employ an annealing-based method that utilizes a backtracking policy of the threshold value when no acceptances of feasible solutions occur during the search process. Computational results on a set of benchmark problems show that the proposed method consistently outperforms previous algorithms for solving the OVRP. The approach can serve as the means for effective fleet planning in real-life problems.
Key words: Distribution / vehicle routing / logistics.
© EDP Sciences, 2004
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