IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Synchronized routing of seasonal products through a production/distribution network


  • Marie-Claude Bolduc


  • Jacques Renaud


  • Benoit Montreuil



This paper presents a multi-period vehicle routing problem for a large-scale production and distribution network. The vehicles must be routed in such a way as to minimize travel and inventory costs over a multi-period horizon, while also taking retailer demands and the availability of products at a central production facility into account. The network is composed of one distribution center and hundreds of retailers. Each retailer has its demand schedule representing the total number of units of a given product that should have been received on a given day. Many high value products are distributed. Product availability is determined by the production facility, whose production schedule determines how many units of each product must be available on a given day. To distribute these products, the routes of a heterogeneous fleet must be determined for a multiple period horizon. The objective of our research is to minimize the cost of distributing products to the retailers and the cost of maintaining inventory at the facility. In addition to considering product availability, the routing schedule must respect many constraints, such as capacity restrictions on the routes and the possibility of multiple vehicle trips over the time horizon. In the situation studied, no more than 20 product units could be carried by a single vehicle, which generally limited the number of retailers that could be supplied to one or two per route. This article proposes a mathematical formulation, as well as some heuristics, for solving this single-retailer-route vehicle routing problem. Extensions are then proposed to deal with the multiple-retailer-route situation. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Marie-Claude Bolduc & Jacques Renaud & Benoit Montreuil, 2006. "Synchronized routing of seasonal products through a production/distribution network," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 14(2), pages 209-228, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:cejnor:v:14:y:2006:i:2:p:209-228
    DOI: 10.1007/s10100-006-0169-2

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gavirneni, Srinagesh, 2001. "Benefits of co-operation in a production distribution environment," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 130(3), pages 612-622, May.
    2. Thomas, Douglas J. & Griffin, Paul M., 1996. "Coordinated supply chain management," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 1-15, October.
    3. Laporte, Gilbert, 1992. "The vehicle routing problem: An overview of exact and approximate algorithms," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 345-358, June.
    4. Renaud, Jacques & Boctor, Fayez F., 2002. "A sweep-based algorithm for the fleet size and mix vehicle routing problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 140(3), pages 618-628, August.
    5. Andrew J. Clark & Herbert Scarf, 2004. "Optimal Policies for a Multi-Echelon Inventory Problem," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(12_supple), pages 1782-1790, December.
    6. Laporte, Gilbert, 1992. "The traveling salesman problem: An overview of exact and approximate algorithms," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 231-247, June.
    7. Helsgaun, Keld, 2000. "An effective implementation of the Lin-Kernighan traveling salesman heuristic," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 106-130, October.
    8. Chandra, Pankaj & Fisher, Marshall L., 1994. "Coordination of production and distribution planning," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 503-517, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:pal:jorsoc:v:59:y:2008:i:6:d:10.1057_palgrave.jors.2602421 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lahyani, Rahma & Khemakhem, Mahdi & Semet, Frédéric, 2015. "Rich vehicle routing problems: From a taxonomy to a definition," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 241(1), pages 1-14.
    3. Koç, Çağrı & Bektaş, Tolga & Jabali, Ola & Laporte, Gilbert, 2016. "Thirty years of heterogeneous vehicle routing," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 249(1), pages 1-21.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:cejnor:v:14:y:2006:i:2:p:209-228. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.