Rich Vehicle Routing with Auxiliary Depots and Anticipated Deliveries: An Application to Pharmaceutical Distribution

Raphael Kramer*, Jean-François Cordeau+, and Manuel Iori*
*DISMI, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 42100 Reggio Emilia, Italy.
+Department of Logistics and Operations Management, HEC Montréal, Canada.


We present and solve a rich vehicle routing problem based on a practical distribution problem faced by a third-party logistics provider, whose aim is to deliver pharmaceutical products to healthcare facilities in Tuscany. The problem is characterized by having multiple depots, a heterogeneous fleet of vehicles, flexible time windows, periodic demands, incompatibilities between vehicles and customers, a maximum duration for the routes, and a maximum number of customers per route. A multi-start iterated local search algorithm making use of several neighborhoods is proposed to solve the problem. The algorithm has been tested on a large number of instances and obtained good results, both on the real case study and on a number of vehicle routing variants encountered in the literature.

Key words

Rich vehicle routing, pharmaceutical distribution, real-life logistics, iterated local search.

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