Optimising the Scheduling and Planning of Urban Milk Deliveries
This paper investigates the optimisation of the delivery of dairy products to households in three urban areas. The requirement for the optimisation to be part of the existing business process has determined the approach taken. The solution is maintained in an existing customer database, with manual amendments as customers are added and deleted. The optimisation challenge is to take this solution, reduce the distance travelled, and balance the load across rounds making the minimum number of changes to the delivery network. The approach taken utilises an Evolutionary Algorithm for ordering deliveries and a multi-agent approach to reassigning deliveries between rounds. The case study suggests that distance travelled may be reduced by up to 19 %, the deviation between round lengths may be considerably reduced, with only 10 % of customers being moved between rounds.
This work was partially funded by the Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher scheme.
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