Technical Papers

Sequential Meta-Heuristic Approach for Solving Large-Scale Ready-Mixed Concrete–Dispatching Problems

Abstract

Finding a practical solution for the allocation of resources in ready-mixed concrete (RMC) is a challenging issue. In the literature, heuristic methods have been mostly used for solving the RMC problem. The introduced methods are intended to find a solution in one stage but the amount of infeasible allocations in their initial solutions is their main challenge, as these infeasible solutions need postprocessing efforts. This paper introduces a sequential heuristic method that can solve RMC problems in two separate stages without any need for postprocessing. It was found that the depot-allocation problem is more complicated than truck allocation and the combination of these two subproblems threatens the efficiency of the solution. Another contribution of this paper is proposing a new formulation for minimizing the number of trucks. A genetic algorithm (GA) has been selected for implementing the proposed idea and for evaluating the large-scale data-set model. The data set covers an active RMC for a period of 1 month. The comprehensive tests show that sequential GA is more robust than traditional GA when it converges 10 times faster with achieved solution at 30% less cost.