Robust Inventory Routing Under Demand Uncertainty

Creative Commons License

Solyali O., Cordeau J., Laporte G.

TRANSPORTATION SCIENCE, vol.46, no.3, pp.327-340, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 46 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1287/trsc.1110.0387
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.327-340
  • Keywords: inventory routing problem, lot sizing, robust optimization, integer programming, branch-and-cut, OPTIMIZATION, ALLOCATION, ALGORITHM, PRICE
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This paper introduces a robust inventory routing problem where a supplier distributes a single product to multiple customers facing dynamic uncertain demands over a finite discrete time horizon. The probability distribution of the uncertain demand at each customer is not fully specified. The only available information is that these demands are independent and symmetric random variables that can take some value from their support interval. The supplier is responsible for the inventory management of its customers, has sufficient inventory to replenish the customers, and distributes the product using a capacitated vehicle. Backlogging of the demand at customers is allowed. The problem is to determine the delivery quantities as well as the times and routes to the customers, while ensuring feasibility regardless of the realized demands, and minimizing the total cost composed of transportation, inventory holding, and shortage costs. Using a robust optimization approach, we propose two robust mixed integer programming (MIP) formulations for the problem. We also propose a new MIP formulation for the deterministic (nominal) case of the problem. We implement these formulations within a branch-and-cut algorithm and report results on a set of instances adapted from the literature.