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Designing a two-echelon distribution network under demand uncertainty. (English) Zbl 1430.90056
Summary: This paper proposes a comprehensive methodology for the stochastic multi-period two-echelon distribution network design problem (2E-DDP) where product flows to ship-to-points are directed from an upper layer of primary warehouses to distribution platforms (DPs) before being transported to the ship-to-points. A temporal hierarchy characterizes the design level dealing with DP location and capacity decisions, as well as the operational level involving transportation decisions as origin-destination flows. These design decisions must be calibrated to minimize the expected distribution cost associated with the two-echelon transportation schema on this network under stochastic demand. We consider a multi-period planning horizon where demand varies dynamically from one planning period to the next. Thus, the design of the two-echelon distribution network under uncertain customer demand gives rise to a complex multi-stage decisional problem. Given the strategic structure of the problem, we introduce alternative modeling approaches based on two-stage stochastic programming with recourse. We solve the resulting models using a Benders decomposition approach. The size of the scenario set is tuned using the sample average approximation (SAA) approach. Then, a scenario-based evaluation procedure is introduced to post-evaluate the design solutions obtained. We conduct extensive computational experiments based on several types of instances to validate the proposed models and assess the efficiency of the solution approaches. The evaluation of the quality of the stochastic solution underlines the impact of uncertainty in the two-echelon distribution network design problem (2E-DDP).

MSC:
90B06 Transportation, logistics and supply chain management
90C15 Stochastic programming
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