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Exact and hyper-heuristic solutions for the distribution-installation problem from the VeRoLog 2019 challenge

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Networks
Issue number2
Volume76
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)294-319
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date29/06/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This work tackles a rich vehicle routing problem (VRP) problem integrating a capacitated vehicle routing problem with time windows (CVRPTW), and a service technician routing and scheduling problem (STRSP) for delivering various equipment based on customers' requests, and the subsequent installation by a number of technicians. The main objective is to reduce the overall costs of hired resources, and the total transportation costs of trucks/technicians. The problem was the topic of the fourth edition of the VeRoLog Solver Challenge in cooperation with the ORTEC company. Our contribution to research is the development of a mathematical model for this problem and a novel hyper‐heuristic algorithm to solve the problem based on a population of solutions. Experimental results on two datasets of small and real‐world size revealed the success of the hyper‐heuristic approach in finding optimal solutions in a shorter computational time, when compared to our exact model. The results of the large size dataset were also compared to the results of the eight finalists in the competition and were found to be competitive, proving the potential of our developed hyper‐heuristic framework.