Dr., Çankaya Üniversitesi, Ankara, Türkiye
Efe Bedirhan Özbilge
Çankaya Üniversitesi, Ankara, Türkiye
Milk-run distribution is a commonly used distribution scheme in practice. There are several versions of milk-run, such as inbound shipment, outbound shipment, in-plant distribution, etc. In this study, we consider a classical milk-run (CMR) distribution system, where a truck originates from a manufacturer’s warehouse, visits several customer locations and returns back to the warehouse for outbound shipment. In order to visit customer locations, the truck uses the inner-city roads. We consider an alternative milk-run distribution, where a larger truck is equipped with drone launching and landing platform that can be used while the truck is moving with high speed on highway around the city center. All the distribution is performed via drones without stopping or slowing down the truck. The state-of-the-art drone usage in distribution requires the truck is stopped, or at least slowed down to very low speeds. To the best of our knowledge, drone milk-run (DMR) distribution has not been applied as our proposed scheme yet. We compare costs of CMR and DMR distributions using a numerical setting, where parameters are mostly derived from real-life data. For DMR, we define sixteen cases for different parameter levels, generate twenty random instances per case and in total solve 320 instances. There are 40 corresponding CMR instances to those of DMR. We follow a similar methodology as applied in Özbilge (2021)* and also use their data for our numerical study. In all the instances, DMR has lower cost than CMR. The benefit increases with higher number of customer to serve. However, the average cost benefit does not seem to be efficient for investing in drones to use as in our delivery scheme under the current drone prices and other operational costs. This result is supported by intuition of several practitioners. *Özbilge, E.B., (2021), “A Milk-Run Distribution System Design for Integrating Drones” M.Sc. Thesis, Çankaya University, Ankara, Turkey This study is partially supported by the Scientific Research Projects Funds (Project Number BAP-MF.20.009) by Çankaya University.
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