11Synchronization Problems Based on Vehicle Routings

The idea of connecting two problems of a supply chain is not new. Some problems have been studied since the 1980s. More recently, there is a growing conviction that Operational Research has had enough progress to process such problems effectively. These advances are certainly technological, but they are also methodological due to the development of increasingly efficient methods (linear solvers, metaheuristics, etc).


Figure 11.1. Positioning of inventory and of location routing problems in supply chain management

We are going to present two problems well identified in the literature. They are both built around vehicle routing problems. The first one is an inventory routing problem (IRP). The second one is a location routing problem (LRP). The IRP is a horizontal synchronization problem that implements the storage and distribution activities at the operational level. The LRP is, in turn, a problem of vertical synchronization between the strategic level for site location and the tactical level for the routing. It plays a role in the design and dimensioning of the distribution network. The mapping of these problems is shown in Figure 11.1.

11.1. Inventory routing problem

11.1.1. Presentation of the problem Introductory example

The IRP is an old one. One of the historical papers on the subject is [BEL 83]. The authors ...

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