Scheduling Policies for Multi-Period Services

Cristina Nunez-del-Toro, Elena Fernandez, Joerg Kalcsics, Stefan Nickel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper discusses a multi-period service scheduling problem. In this problem, a set of customers is given who periodically require service over a finite time horizon. To satisfy the service demands, a set of operators is given, each with a fixed capacity in terms of the number of customers an operator can serve per period. The task is to determine for each customer the periods in which he will be visited by an operator such that the periodic service requests of the customers are adhered to and the total number of operators used over the time horizon is minimal. Two alternative policies for scheduling customer visits are considered. In the first one, a customer is visited just on time, i.e., in the period where he or she has a demand for service. The second policy allows service visits ahead of time. The rationale behind this policy is that allowing irregular visits may reduce the overall number of operators throughout the time horizon. To solve the problem, integer linear programming formulations are proposed for both policies and numerical experiments are presented that show the reduction in the number of operators used when visits ahead of time are allowed. As only small instances can be solved optimally, a heuristic algorithm is introduced in order to obtain good quality solutions and shorter computing times.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-770
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Volume251
Issue number3
Early online date30 Dec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2016

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