The purpose of this paper is to determine the route of the vehicle routing problem with backhauls (VRPB), delivering new items and picking up the reused items or wastes, and resolve the inventory control decision problem simultaneously since the regular VRPB does not. Both the vehicle routing decision for delivery and pickup, and the inventory control decision affect each other and must be considered together. Hence, a mathematical model of vehicle routing problem with backhauls and inventory (VRPBI) is proposed. Since finding the optimal solution(s) for VRPBI is a NP-hard problem, this paper proposes a heuristic method, variable neighborhood tabu search (VNTS), adopting six neighborhood searching approaches to obtain the optimal solution. Moreover, this paper compares the proposed heuristic method with two other existing heuristic methods. The experimental results indicate that the proposed method is better than the two other methods in terms of average logistic cost (transportation cost and inventory cost).
Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing 20(1), pp.29-42