We address a Multi-Commodity two-echelon Distribution Problem (MC2DP) where three sets of stakeholders are involved: suppliers, distribution centers, and customers. Multiple commodities have to be sent from suppliers to customers, using multiple distribution centers for consolidation purposes. Commodities are collected from the suppliers and delivered to the distribution centers with direct trips, while a fleet of homogeneous vehicles distributes commodities to customers. Commodities are compatible, that is any vehicle can transport any set of commodities as long as its capacity is not exceeded. The goal is to minimize the total transportation cost from suppliers to customers. We present two sequential schemes based on the solution, in a different order, of a collection and a delivery subproblem. In both cases, the solution of the first subproblem determines the quantity of each commodity at each distribution center. The second subproblem takes this information as input. We also propose different strategies to guide the solution of the first subproblem in order to take into account the impact of its solution on the second subproblem. The proposed sequential heuristics are evaluated and compared both on randomly generated instances and on a case study related to a short and local fresh food supply chain. The results show the impact of problem characteristics on solution strategies.
GU, W., ARCHETTI, C., CATTARUZZA, D., OGIER, M., SEMET, F. et SPERANZA, M.G. (2022). A sequential approach for a multi-commodity two-echelon distribution problem. Computers & Industrial Engineering, 163, pp. 107793.