The milk collection problem with time constraint: an optimization study integrating simulation

  • Marta Rinaldi  ,
  • Eleonora Bottani 
  • Federico Solari 
  • Roberto Montanari 
  • Department of Engineering, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, via Roma 29, 81031 Aversa (Italy)
  • b,c,d Department of Engineering and Architecture - University of Parma – viale G.P.Usberti 181/A, 43124 Parma (Italy)
Cite as
Rinaldi M., Bottani E., Solari F., Montanari R. (2020). The milk collection problem with time constraint: an optimization study integrating simulation. Proceedings of the 6th International Food Operations and Processing Simulation Workshop (FoodOPS 2020), pp. 7-13. DOI:


Transport management and vehicle routing problems play a strong role on a company’s efficiency and competitiveness. In the food sector, the complexity of the problem grows because of strict constraints. This paper addresses the dairy transportation problem and in particular tries to optimize the milk collection process of a real company. A two-step approach has been proposed to test the current system and solve the routing problem. First, starting from the “As is” collection tours, a travel salesman problem has been modelled. Later, the Nearest Neighbor algorithm has been implemented in order to find a global optimal solution. Finally, a stochastic simulation model integrates the solutions of the previous step in order to test the feasibility of the outcomes, primarily in terms of their capability to meet the time constraints of the tours. Results show that the greedy approach allows less vehicles to be involved, with a good potential on annual cost saving. On the other hand, the simulation outcomes highlight a borderline case, which is not always in line with the time constraints of the problem.


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