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Sufficient Working Subsets for the Tour Scheduling Problem


Author Info

  • Fred F. Easton

    (School of Management, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244-2130)

  • Donald F. Rossin

    (Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37203)

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    Mathematical programs to schedule service employees at minimum cost represent each feasible schedule, or tour, with an integer variable. In some service organizations, policies governing employee scheduling practices may permit millions of different tours. A common heuristic strategy is to reformulate the problem from a small working subset of the feasible tours. Solution quality depends on the number and types of schedules included in the model. This paper describes a working subset heuristic based on column generation. The method is general and can accommodate a mix of full- and part-time employees. Experiments revealed its formulations had objective values indistinguishable from those of models using all feasible tours, and significantly lower than those generated by alternative working subset procedures.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 37 (1991)
    Issue (Month): 11 (November)
    Pages: 1441-1451

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:37:y:1991:i:11:p:1441-1451

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    Keywords: column generation; staffing and scheduling; service operations;


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    Cited by:
    1. Easton, F. F. & Rossin, D. F., 1997. "Overtime schedules for full-time service workers," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 285-299, June.
    2. Brusco, Michael J. & Jacobs, Larry W., 1995. "Cost analysis of alternative formulations for personnel scheduling in continuously operating organizations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 249-261, October.
    3. Lagodimos, A. G. & Leopoulos, V., 2000. "Greedy heuristic algorithms for manpower shift planning," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 95-106, October.
    4. Batta, Rajan & Berman, Oded & Wang, Qian, 2007. "Balancing staffing and switching costs in a service center with flexible servers," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 177(2), pages 924-938, March.
    5. Hur, Daesik & Mabert, Vincent A. & Bretthauer, K.M.Kurt M., 2004. "Real-time schedule adjustment decisions: a case study," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 333-344, October.
    6. Brusco, Michael J. & Johns, Tony R., 1996. "A sequential integer programming method for discontinuous labor tour scheduling," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 537-548, December.


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