Real-Time Dispatch of Petroleum Tank Trucks
Brown, Gerald G.
Graves, Glenn W.
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A highly automated, real-time dispatch system is described which uses embedded optimization routines to replace extensive manual operations and to reduce substantially operating costs for a nation-wide fleet of petroleum tank trucks. The system is currently used in daily operations by the Order Entry and Dispatch segment of the Chevron U.S.A. Marketing System. Refined petroleum products valued at several billion dollars per year are dispatched from more than 80 bulk terminals on a fleet exceeding 300 vehicles in approximately 2600 loads per day. Centralized use of the dispatch system required its design and implementation as a set of transaction modules within a large management information system. This environment presents special challenges for the optimization methods; an heuristic sequential network assignment was developed for certified performance on these dispatch models in lieu of their solution as integer programs. Objectives include minimizing transportation costs (approaching $100 million annually) while maintaining equitable man and equipment workload distribution, safety standards, and customer services, and satisfying equipment compatibility restrictions.
Management Science, 27, 1, pp. 19-32. (1982 International Management Science Achievement Award Finalist).
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