The present study investigates the cost concerns of distribution centers and formulates a vehicle routing problem with time window constraints accordingly. Based on the embedded structure of the original problem, a decomposition technique is employed to decompose the original problems to a clustering problem (main problem) and a set of traveling salesman problems (sub-problems) with time window constraints. This decomposition not only reduces the problem size but also enable the use of simpler solution procedures. A genetic algorithm is developed to solve the clustering problem, while a simple heuristic algorithm is formulated to solve the set of traveling salesman problems. The solution of the original problem is obtained through iterative interactions between the main problem and the set of sub-problems. The performance of the proposed approach is compared with the well-known insertion method and a manual scheduling of a distribution center.
Expert Systems With Applications 36(4), pp.7758-7763