Optimization of two-stage location–routing–inventory problem with time-windows in food distribution network

Chao Chen, Zhihui Tian, Yao Baozhen (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


High transportation cost and low service quality are common weaknesses in different logistics networks, especially in food delivery. Due to its perishable features, the quality of the food will deteriorate during the while delivery process. In this paper, a two-stage location–routing–inventory problem with time windows (2S-LRITW) for food products is proposed. The first stage corresponds to a location–routing–inventory problem with time windows and the second stage is the transportation problem with vehicle capacity constraints. The problem is formulated as a mixed integer-programming model. Then a hybrid heuristic is proposed, in which distance-based clustering approach, mutation operation and the relocate exchange method are introduced to improve performance of algorithm. At last, the hybrid heuristic was tested using several cases, including some small instances and a real-life case. The results show that the distance-based clustering approach can efficiently improve the convergence speed. And the IACO and the relocate exchange method can enlarge the search space. As a result, the hybrid heuristic is suitable for solving practical larger scale problem. Furthermore, the results also indicate that customer sequence has great effect on the object due to the energy cost considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-134
Number of pages24
JournalAnnals of Operations Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • Location–routing–inventory problem with time-windows (LRITW) Food distribution IACO Clustering
  • Food distribution
  • IACO
  • Location–routing–inventory problem with time-windows (LRITW)
  • Clustering
  • Location-routing-inventory problem with time-windows (LRITW)

Cite this