We examine a problem that arises in the postal industry of developing goods collection routes that are subjected to a bidding process where the price is positively correlated to routes operating complexities. The route complexity would delay the arrival of goods to distribution centers and prevent their deliveries to processing plants within the required time windows. We formulate the problem as a variant of the multiple depot vehicle routing problem with time windows. The ant colony optimization algorithm is discussed as a solution methodology and evaluated in a case study that involves a real-life problem faced by a public postal service organization.

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Keywords Ant colony optimization, Metaheuristics, Multiple depot vehicle routing problem with time windows, Postal last mile collection problem
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2018.01.025
Journal International Journal of Production Economics
Niroomand, I. (Iman), & Nsakanda, A. (2018). Improving collection flows in a public postal network with contractor's obligation considerations. International Journal of Production Economics, 198, 79–92. doi:10.1016/j.ijpe.2018.01.025