Network design of a multi-period collaborative distribution system

  • Xin Tang
  • Fabien Lehuédé
  • Olivier Péton
  • Lin PanEmail author
Original Article


This research is based on a real case study of horizontal collaboration in France. The project involves several suppliers who form a geographical cluster and wish to pool the delivery of their goods to several thousands of customers spread across the whole country. The main objective is to build pooled load plans that cut distribution costs through volume consolidation. The distribution system includes one consolidation facility in the production area and a set of intermediate facilities called regional distribution centers (RDCs). It combines full truckload (FTL) routes between the production area and the RDCs and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments from the RDCs to each customer. We propose a Mixed Integer Linear Programming formulation for the optimal location of RDCs. This model integrates the two transportation rate structures and enables direct deliveries from the production area to customers when FTL routes are not profitable. We propose two additional constraints that help decision makers to refine their preferences. We present computational experiments on a case study concerning the distribution of horticultural products in France.


Facility location Collaboration Distribution Mixed integer linear programming 



This research is part of the FUI 15 Project Vgsupply, which is partially funded by BPI France and labeled by the competitiveness clusters Novalog and Vegepolys.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xin Tang
    • 1
  • Fabien Lehuédé
    • 2
  • Olivier Péton
    • 2
  • Lin Pan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Logistics EngineeringWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Ecole des Mines de NantesInstitut de Recherche en Communications et Cybernétique de Nantes (IRCCyN, UMR CNRS 6597)NantesFrance

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