Web-Based Vehicle Routing

Executive Summary

          The fuel price crisis deters the growing of the Thai economy, particularly in freight transport industry which serves as a skeleton of the country. When the fuel price calms up, the transport cost and commodity price increases in consequences. A trucking company needs to increase their operational efficiencies and to stay in a highly competitive market.

          The web-based vehicle routing (WBVR) is introduced to help transport providers manage their vehicle timetable and routes more effectively. The performance of WBVR can be compared against current practice.

          The prototype of WBVR is derived from a real case study. The freight transport demand arises when a manufacturer (plant) needs raw materials/parts from many suppliers dispersing in different areas. A trucking company is contracted to move loads from suppliers to the manufacturing plant subject to several constraints, e.g. pickup time-windows, vehicle capacity and delivery time; this operation is often called " Milk Run System". The trucking company needs to determine how many vehicles to use and to construct a feasible route for each vehicle to be used so that all shipments are moved at a minimum cost.

          Since vehicle routing is a complex decision problem, the heuristic method is employed to solve the problem. The web-based vehicle routing application brings two main benefits: 1) trucking companies don't need to pay for their own IT staff in maintaining the system, and 2) the search algorithm can be improved without interacting to users. In addition, it is very flexible to users to pay a service charge according to their business needs.

          It is concluded that WBVR has led to the efficiency in vehicle operational planning and transport cost reduction. The web-based application facilitates a large number of small-medium trucking companies (SMEs) to use high quality system with reasonable price.

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