Projects per year
Collection costs associated with servicing a major UK charity’s donation banks and collecting unsold goods from their retail shops can account for up to 20% of the overall income gained. Bank and shop collections are commingled and are typically made on fixed days of the week irrespective of the amounts of materials waiting to be collected. Using collection records from a major UK charity, this paper considers what vehicle routing and scheduling benefits could accrue if bank and shop servicing requirements were monitored, the former using remote sensing technology to allow more proactive collection scheduling. A vehicle routing and scheduling algorithm employing tabu search methods was developed, and suggested time and distance savings of up to 30% over the current fixed schedules when a minimum bank and shop fill level of between 50% and 60% was used as a collection trigger. For the case study investigated, this led to a potential revenue gain of 5% for the charity and estimated CO2 savings of around 0.5 tonnes per week across the fleet of six heterogeneous vehicles.