In delivery networks, companies assign time windows to customers, informing them between which times they may expect service. Unfortunately, these time windows are often too wide to be informative, for example from 9am to 5pm. Another problem is that time windows may not be met due to unforeseen delays.

In this thesis, we study assigning time windows in distribution networks to improve customer satisfaction. More and more companies realize that the satisfaction of their customers is important. As such, the customers cannot be ignored when assigning time windows and constructing delivery routes.

We consider two optimization problems that explicitly incorporate the satisfaction of the customers. First, we study the Time Window Assignment Vehicle Routing Problem. This is the problem of assigning time windows for delivery before demand volume becomes known. In this case, the distributor guarantees service within the assigned time window, regardless of the realization of demand.

Second, we introduce and study the Dynamic Time Window Adjustment Problem. Here, the distributor is faced with travel time uncertainty. To deal with this uncertainty, the time windows that are communicated to the customers can be updated throughout the day. Adjustments may not be appreciated by the customers. However, informing the customer timely that a delivery will be made in a later time window is preferred to missing the deadline unannounced. We call these updates dynamic time window adjustments, and the Dynamic Time Window Adjustment Problem is the problem of optimizing these.

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A.P.M. Wagelmans (Albert) , R. Spliet (Remy)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management
Department of Econometrics

Dalmeijer, K. (2019, November 15). Time Window Assignment in Distribution Networks (No. EPS-2019-486-LIS). ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from