Scheduling logistic activities to improve hospital supply systems. (English) Zbl 1120.90002

Summary: An innovative approach for improving hospital logistics by coordinating the procurement and distribution operations while respecting inventory capacities. Instead of focusing on multi-echelon inventory decisions, our approach put the emphasis on the scheduling decisions: when to buy a product, when to deliver to each care unit, when each employee should work and what task should he do, etc. This promising strategy requires the elaboration of coordinated schedules that balance the activities through the purchasing cycle. We introduce two modelling approaches that can account for the numerous scheduling decisions in such environment. We present a tabu search metaheuristic that explores four different neighborhoods and which accommodates the two modelling approaches. We tested our models and algorithms on a real case extracted from a hospital based in Montreal, Canada. The supply schedules generated by our algorithm were considered by the hospital managers as efficient and well balanced. The approach may help hospitals to improve their logistics by better coordinating purchasing and procurement.


90B06 Transportation, logistics and supply chain management
90B40 Search theory


Tabu search
Full Text: DOI


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