Title: Solving a vendor-managed inventory routing problem arising in the distribution of bottled water in Morocco

Authors: Jamal Lmariouh; Leandro C. Coelho; Nizar Elhachemi; Gilbert Laporte; Anouar Jamali; Driss Bouami

Addresses: Quality, Security and Maintenance Laboratory, Mohammedia School of Engineers Rabat, Morocco; CELOG, School of Textile and Clothing Industries (ESITH), Casablanca, Morocco ' CIRRELT and Faculté des sciences de l'administration, Université Laval, 2325 de la Terrasse, Québec, G1V 0A6, Canada ' MOAD/SCM, Mohammedia School of Engineers, Rabat, Morocco ' CIRRELT and HEC Montréal, 3000 chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, H3T 2A7, Canada ' Tamayuz Supply Chain Center, SNTL Group, Rabat, Morocco ' Quality, Security and Maintenance Laboratory, Mohammedia School of Engineers, Rabat, Morocco

Abstract: In this paper we solve a real-life distribution problem faced by a Moroccan bottled water company dealing with a combination of inventory and distribution decisions. To manage its distribution process, the company uses a vendor-managed inventory system, which means that the supplier controls the inventory at the customers. This problem is known as the inventory-routing problem (IRP) in which both transportation and inventory costs are simultaneously minimised. Our real-life problem contains several types of bottled water that must be shipped from a supplier to a set of regional depots and wholesalers. Inventory costs are paid at both the plant and at the customers, and shipments are performed by a fleet of homogeneous vehicles. We propose an ad-hoc modification of IRP models and branch-and-cut algorithms. Computational tests were carried out on fifteen real-life-based instances. The results show that significant savings of almost 10% can be obtained. [Received 20 March 2016; Revised 21 August 2016; Accepted 10 September 2016]

Keywords: inventory routing problem; IRP; branch-and-cut; expert systems; vendor-managed inventory; VMI; bottled water distribution; multi-vehicle; multi-product; Morocco; inventory management.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIE.2017.083249

European Journal of Industrial Engineering, 2017 Vol.11 No.2, pp.168 - 184

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 22 Mar 2017 *

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