### Abstract

The inventory routing problem is a distribution problem in which each customer maintains a local inventory of a product such as heating oil and consumes a certain amount of that product each day. Each day a fleet of trucks is dispatched over a set of routes to resupply a subset of the customers. In this paper, we describe and compare algorithms for this problem defined over a short planning period, e.g. one week. These algorithms define the set of customers to be serviced each day and produce routes for a fleet of vehicles to service those customers. Two algorithms are compared in detail, one which first allocates deliveries to days and then solves a vehicle routing problem and a second which treats the multi-day problem as a modified vehicle routing problem. The comparison is based on a set of real data obtained from a propane distribution firm in Pennsylvania. The solutions obtained by both procedures compare quite favorably with those in use by the firm.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages (from-to) | 1-23 |

Number of pages | 23 |

Journal | Annals of Operations Research |

Volume | 4 |

Issue number | 1 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Dec 1 1985 |

Externally published | Yes |

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### Keywords

- Vehicle routing
- graph algorithms
- heuristics
- inventory

### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Decision Sciences(all)
- Management Science and Operations Research

### Cite this

*Annals of Operations Research*,

*4*(1), 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02022035