Presented in the document is a method of optimising a distribution network. The
distribution network chosen is known as a Vehicle Routing Problem and this particular Vehicle Routing Problem is part of Smart Publishing's (magazine distributor in Pretoria) distribution network. Due to external factors the VRP selected can transform into a Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem. A Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem is considered NP-hard and requires a metaheuristic to solve. The different types of metaheuristics are listed and their operating procedure explained. A possible metaheuristic that can be used to solve a CVRP is a simulated annealing approach.
Improving Smart Publishing's CVRP and building the simulated annealing
metaheuristic will be the main purpose of the project. Results of the new route
compared with the old route are presented and a shorter route has been found using a
simulated annealing approach. As result, the company will save on fuel usage,
maintenance cost and time. The quality of a heuristic can be tested through special
measures and a good quality heuristic will provide good approximations near the
optimal solution on a regular basis in reasonable time.
Thesis (B Eng. (Industrial and Systems Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2010.