Title: Routing vehicles through cross-docking facility for third party logistics service providers

Authors: M. Birasnav; S. Kalaivanan; A. Ramesh; Rajendra Tibrewala

Addresses: School of Management, New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, NY 11568, USA ' Centre for Transportation Systems (CTRANS), Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee 247667, India ' Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee 247667, India ' School of Management, New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, NY 11568, USA

Abstract: This study focuses on a specialised vehicle routing problem (VRP) to transport matchboxes from manufacturing companies to retailers through a cross-dock (cross-docking facility) operated by a third party logistics service provider. Three processes (unloading, consolidating, and loading) are carried out at a cross-dock for completely avoiding or keeping inventory for a very short time. The specialised VRP, addressed in this paper, consists of multiple suppliers (each supplier can produce different brands of products for any number of customers) and multiple customers (each customer can receive orders from any number of suppliers). A mixed integer linear programming model has been developed to solve this kind of NP-hard problem. The objective of this model is to minimise total cost incurred in picking up and transporting the matchboxes from the manufacturers to cross-dock, consolidating matchboxes at cross-dock, and in transporting and delivering the matchboxes to the customers. This study also proposes an effective heuristic procedure to solve the same problem and compares the solution obtained using the heuristic procedure to the optimal solution obtained using the exact method. The findings show that the heuristic method, proposed by us, generates near optimum solutions using significantly less computational time than the exact method.

Keywords: vehicle routing; cross-docking; NP-hard; heuristic; logistics service provider; consolidating; multiple suppliers; multiple customers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJOR.2020.107072

International Journal of Operational Research, 2020 Vol.38 No.2, pp.255 - 277

Received: 30 Jan 2017
Accepted: 29 Aug 2017

Published online: 31 Mar 2020 *

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