A granular tabu search algorithm for a real case study of a vehicle routing problem with a heterogeneous fleet and time windows

Jose Bernal, John Willmer Escobar, Rodrigo Linfati


Purpose: We consider a real case study of a vehicle routing problem with a heterogeneous fleet and time windows (HFVRPTW) for a franchise company bottling Coca-Cola products in Colombia. This study aims to determine the routes to be performed to fulfill the demand of the customers by using a heterogeneous fleet and considering soft time windows. The objective is to minimize the distance traveled by the performed routes.

Design/methodology/approach: We propose a two-phase heuristic algorithm. In the proposed approach, after an initial phase (first phase), a granular tabu search is applied during the improvement phase (second phase). Two additional procedures are considered to help that the algorithm could escape from local optimum, given that during a given number of iterations there has been no improvement.

Findings: Computational experiments on real instances show that the proposed algorithm is able to obtain high-quality solutions within a short computing time compared to the results found by the software that the company currently uses to plan the daily routes.

Originality/value: We propose a novel metaheuristic algorithm for solving a real routing problem by considering heterogeneous fleet and time windows. The efficiency of the proposed approach has been tested on real instances, and the computational experiments shown its applicability and performance for solving NP-Hard Problems related with routing problems with similar characteristics. The proposed algorithm was able to improve some of the current solutions applied by the company by reducing the route length and the number of vehicles.


Vehicle Routing Problem, Heterogeneous Fleet, Time Windows, Real Case Study

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3926/jiem.2159

Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2017

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience