Date of Graduation

7-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Industrial Engineering

Advisor

Ashlea B. Milburn

Committee Member

John A. White

Second Committee Member

Justin R. Chimka

Keywords

Applied sciences; Distribution; Inventory control; Inventory routing; Supply chain and logistics

Abstract

This research addresses an integrated distribution and inventory control problem which is faced by a large retail chain in the United States. In their current distribution network, a direct shipping policy is used to keep stores stocked with products. The shipping policy specifies that a dedicated trailer should be sent from the warehouse to a store when the trailer is full or after five business days, whichever comes first. Stores can only receive deliveries during a window of time (6 am to 6 pm). The retail chain is seeking more efficient alternatives to this policy, as measured by total transportation, inventory holding and lost sales costs. More specifically, the goal of this research is to determine the optimal timing and magnitudes of deliveries to stores across a planning horizon. While dedicated shipments to stores will be allowed under the optimal policy, options that combine deliveries for multiple stores into a single route should also be considered. This problem is modeled as an Inventory Routing Problem with time window constraints. Due to the complexity and size of this NP-hard combinatorial optimization problem, an adaptive large neighborhood search heuristic is developed to obtain solutions. Results are provided for a realistic set of test instances.

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