Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 221, Issue 1, pp 407–426 | Cite as

The stop-and-drop problem in nonprofit food distribution networks

  • Senay SolakEmail author
  • Christina Scherrer
  • Ahmed Ghoniem


In this paper, we introduce the stop-and-drop problem (SDRP), a new variant of location-routing problems, that is mostly applicable to nonprofit food distribution networks. In these distribution problems, there is a central warehouse that contains food items to be delivered to agencies serving the people in need. The food is delivered by trucks to multiple sites in the service area and partner agencies travel to these sites to pick up their food. The tactical decision problem in this setting involves how to jointly select a set of delivery sites, assign agencies to these sites, and schedule routes for the delivery vehicles. The problem is modeled as an integrated mixed-integer program for which we delineate a two-phase sequential solution approach. We also propose two Benders decomposition-based solution procedures, namely a linear programming relaxation based Benders implementation and a logic-based Benders decomposition heuristic. We show through a set of realistic problem instances that given a fixed time limit, these decomposition based methods perform better than both the standard branch-and-bound solution and the two-phase approach. The general problem and the realistic instances used in the computational study are motivated by interactions with food banks in southeastern United States.


Nonprofit logistics Routing-location-allocation problems Benders decomposition 



This work has been supported by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Faculty Research Grant/Healey Endowment Grant Award Number P1FRG0000000055 and the National Science Foundation Broadening Participation Research Initiation Grants in Engineering (BRIGE) Award number 0927095.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Senay Solak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christina Scherrer
    • 2
  • Ahmed Ghoniem
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Finance and Operations Management, Isenberg School of ManagementUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Department of Industrial Engineering TechnologySouthern Polytechnic State UniversityMariettaUSA

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