Motivated by a real-life application, this research considers the multi-objective vehicle routing and loading problem with time window constraints which is a variant of the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem with Time Windows (CVRPTW) with one/two-dimensional loading constraints. The problem consists of routing a number of vehicles to serve a set of customers and determining the best way of loading the goods ordered by the customers onto the vehicles used for transportation. The three objectives pertaining to minimisation of total travel distance, number of routes to use and total number of mixed orders in the same pallet are, more often than not, conflicting. To achieve a solution with no preferential information known in advance from the decision maker, the problem is formulated as a Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP) model with one objective - minimising the total cost, where the three original objectives are incorporated as parts of the total cost function. A Generalised Variable Neighbourhood Search (GVNS) algorithm is designed as the search engine to relieve the computational burden inherent to the application of the MILP model. To evaluate the effectiveness of the GVNS algorithm, a real instance case study is generated and solved by both the GVNS algorithm and the software provided by our industrial partner. The results show that the suggested approach provides solutions with better overall values than those found by the software provided by our industrial partner.
- Routing and loading
- Generalised Variable Neighbourhood Search
- Mixed Integer Linear Programming