Optimization of physical distribution problem in logistics management

W. Ho, Ping Ji, P. Albores

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic research


Physical distribution plays an imporant role in contemporary logistics management. Both satisfaction level of of customer and competitiveness of company can be enhanced if the distribution problem is solved optimally. The multi-depot vehicle routing problem (MDVRP) belongs to a practical logistics distribution problem, which consists of three critical issues: customer assignment, customer routing, and vehicle sequencing. According to the literatures, the solution approaches for the MDVRP are not satisfactory because some unrealistic assumptions were made on the first sub-problem of the MDVRP, ot the customer assignment problem. To refine the approaches, the focus of this paper is confined to this problem only. This paper formulates the customer assignment problem as a minimax-type integer linear programming model with the objective of minimizing the cycle time of the depots where setup times are explicitly considered. Since the model is proven to be MP-complete, a genetic algorithm is developed for solving the problem. The efficiency and effectiveness of the genetic algorithm are illustrated by a numerical example.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalIndustrial engineering research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Logistics management
  • Physical distribution problem
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Genetic algorithm


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