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Delivery to the retail sector: Example of a regional brewery

A regional brewery in Germany supplies bars, restaurants, and stores with beverages. All deliveries and pick-ups of empties are done in round trips, beginning and ending at their main depot, the brewery.

Use Case description

The load: 
The deliveries may consist of kegs, cases or a pallet of one of these or a mixture.  Typically, when loading the trucks there is a weight constraint but not a volume constraint . Here an example of a truck load: 

  • Different transport equipment, e.g. pallets, chep, rollis, kegs 
  • 500 cases of beer, 30 “50l kegs” 
  • 100 cases of beer, 25 “50l kegs” 

The fleet: 
For delivery, the brewery uses its own mixed fleet that is composed of 25 different types of vehicles with various payloads. The company works with 7.5 ton and 12 ton trucks that can be operated several times a day. 

The customers: 
Specific customer loading and unloading times must be considered during planning. In addition, some locations have vehicle restrictions (e.g. no trailers, small vehicles only) or require a forklift. In general, empties are collected during delivery. However, occasionally individual customers require empties to be picked up.  

The staff: 
The company has one dispatcher who carries out the planning and drivers who are assigned to territories. The drivers do not take the vehicles home at the end of a day and always start their shift at the brewery. The planning software must allow for manual interventions, as the dispatcher often wants to adjust the solution according to personal preferences. Furthermore, additional orders or cancelations need to be tackled.

Problem characteristics

Depot-based round trip planning

The trips start and end at the same depot. On the trip, the individual deliveries and pickups are made.

Heterogeneous fleet

The fleet consists of different types of vehicles. The vehicles have different characteristics e.g. capacity, equipment, average speed, dimensions, etc.

Day trips

The trips are completed within one day. There are no overnight stays.

Customer time window

Arrival at the customers must be in the defined time windows. The customers can have several time windows (e.g. morning / afternoon or from / to).

Service times

The service life at the customer's site may depend on loading and unloading lengths as well as on site-specific conditions. Service times can have a quantity-dependent and fixed component.

Customer-specific travel restrictions

Certain customers may only be served by certain vehicle types due to specific requirements of the customer.

Extensions for the described use case

Planning also with external fleet

Third-party vehicles can also be used in the planning process. The goal is a cost-effective deployment mix of both fleets. 

Tour start and/or end is driver location

The driver takes his vehicle home and the tour does not end or start at the depot.

Two driver scheme

Two-driver scheme for restaurant deliveries and its impact on customer loading and unloading times.

Heterogeneous fleet and loading equipment

Vehicles or trains with (swap) trailers, trucks with semitrailers, city semitrailers, vehicles with and without lifting platforms are used.

Territorial specifications

Master trips can also be planned with driver and vehicle binding

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