Solving the Inventory Slack Routing Problem for Medication Distribution Planning
Herrmann, Jeffrey W.
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This paper presents a two-stage approach for solving the inventory slack routing routing problem in order to improve medication distribution planning, which is a critical issue in emergency preparedness. Public health officials must plan the logistics for distributing medication to points of dispensing (PODs), which will give medication to the public in case of a bioterrorist attack such as anthrax, while medication is still arriving. Our approach separates the problem into two subproblems: (1) the "routing problem" assigns sites to routes for each vehicle, and (2) the "scheduling problem" determines when the vehicles should start these routes and how much material should be delivered on each trip. This paper formulates the problem, describes the approach, and presents the results of using this approach to construct solutions for a variety of scenarios.