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Publications

Publications by Maria Antónia Carravilla

2014

A constructive heuristic for staff scheduling in the glass industry

Authors
Rocha, M; Oliveira, JF; Carravilla, MA;

Publication
ANNALS OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH

Abstract
In this paper a constructive heuristic for solving the staff scheduling problem of a glass manufacture unit is proposed. Based on simple calculations and algorithms, the developed procedure assigns working shifts and days-off to teams of employees, ensuring the satisfaction of a mandatory sequence of working shifts and the balance of the workload between employees. The computational times for the experiments with the case study company, with three eight-hour working shifts and five teams of employees, fell consistently below 5 seconds for a set of different planning periods. Results are compared with the ones achieved with an optimization model (MIP), demonstrating the good performance of the heuristic, also in terms of the quality of the achieved solutions. The heuristic rarely fails to produce a feasible solution and whenever the solution is feasible then it is also optimal. When tackling problems with a large number of teams, the heuristic maintains the good performance while the MIP model is not able to find any solution within 16 hours of running time. Although it was designed for a particular problem of the glass industry, tests show that the heuristic is flexible enough to be applied to problems with different features, from other activity sectors, encouraging further extensions of this work.

2014

A relax-and-fix-based algorithm for the vehicle-reservation assignment problem in a car rental company

Authors
Oliveira, BB; Carravilla, MA; Oliveira, JF; Toledo, FMB;

Publication
EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF OPERATIONAL RESEARCH

Abstract
Empty repositions are a major problem for car rental companies that deal with special types of vehicles whose number of units is small. In order to meet reservation requirements concerning time and location, companies are forced to transfer cars between rental stations, bearing significant costs and increasing the environmental impact of their activity due to the fuel consumption and CO2 emission. In this paper, this problem is tackled under a vehicle-reservation assignment framework as a network-flow model in which the profit is maximized. The reservations are allocated considering the initial and future availability of each car, interdependencies between rental groups, and different reservation priorities. To solve this model, a relax-and-fix heuristic procedure is proposed, including a constraint based on local branching that enables and controls modifications between iterations. Using real instances, the value of this approach is established and an improvement of 33% was achieved when compared to the company's current practices.

2017

Fleet and revenue management in car rental companies: A literature review and an integrated conceptual framework

Authors
Oliveira, BB; Carravilla, MA; Oliveira, JF;

Publication
OMEGA-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT SCIENCE

Abstract
This paper aims to present, define and structure the car rental fleet management problem, which includes operational fleet management issues and problems traditionally studied under the revenue management framework. The car rental business has challenging and distinctive characteristics, which are mainly related with fleet and decision-making flexibility, and that render this problem relevant for academic research and practical applications. Three main contributions are presented: an in-depth literature review and discussion on car rental fleet and revenue management issues, a novel integrating conceptual framework for this problem, and the identification of research directions for the future development of the field.

2015

Pricing for internet sales channels in car rentals

Authors
Oliveira, BB; Carravilla, MA; Oliveira, JF; Raicar, P; Acácio, D; Ferreira, J; Araújo, P;

Publication
Operations Research and Big Data: IO2015-XVII Congress of Portuguese Association of Operational Research (APDIO)

Abstract
Internet sales channels, especially e-brokers that compare prices in the market, have a major impact on car rentals. As costs are heavily correlated with unoccupied fleet, occupation considerations should be integrated with swift responses to the market prices. This work was developed alongside Guerin, a Portuguese car rental, to build a tool that quickly updates prices on e-brokers websites to increase total value. This paper describes the specificities of the problem and their implication on the solution, and presents an adaptative heuristic to update prices and the system's architecture.

2016

A semi-continuous MIP model for the irregular strip packing problem

Authors
Leao, AAS; Toledo, FMB; Oliveira, JF; Carravilla, MA;

Publication
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PRODUCTION RESEARCH

Abstract
Solving nesting problems involves the waste minimisation in cutting processes, and therefore it is not only economically relevant for many industries but has also an important environmental impact, as the raw materials that are cut are usually a natural resource. However, very few exact approaches have been proposed in the literature for the nesting problem (also known as irregular packing problem), and the majority of the known approaches are heuristic algorithms, leading to suboptimal solutions. The few mathematical programming models known for this problem can be divided into discrete and continuous models, based on how the placement coordinates of the pieces to be cut are dealt with. In this paper, we propose an innovative semi-continuous mixed-integer programming model for two-dimensional cutting and packing problems with irregular shaped pieces. The model aims to exploit the advantages of the two previous classes of approaches and discretises the [GRAPHICS] -axis while keeping the [GRAPHICS] -coordinate continuous. The board can therefore be seen as a set of stripes. Computational results show that the model, when solved by a commercial solver, can deal with large problems and determine the optimal solution for smaller instances, but as it happens with discrete models, the optimal solution value depends on the discretisation step that is used.

2013

An optimization model for the vehicle routing problem with practical three-dimensional loading constraints

Authors
Junqueira, L; Oliveira, JF; Carravilla, MA; Morabito, R;

Publication
INTERNATIONAL TRANSACTIONS IN OPERATIONAL RESEARCH

Abstract
In this paper, we present an integer linear programming model for the vehicle routing problem that considers real-world three-dimensional (3D) loading constraints. In this problem, a set of customers make requests of goods that are wrapped up in boxes, and the objective is to find minimum cost delivery routes for a set of identical vehicles that, departing from a depot, visit all customers only once and return to the depot. Apart from the usual 3D container loading constraints that ensure the boxes are packed completely inside the vehicles and the boxes do not overlap each other in each vehicle, the problem also takes into account constraints related to the vertical stability of the cargo, multidrop situations, and load-bearing strength of the boxes (including fragility). Computational tests with the proposed model were performed using an optimization solver embedded into a modeling language. The results validate the model and show that it is only able to handle problems of a moderate size. However, this model will be useful to motivate other researchers to explore approximate solution approaches to solve this problem, such as decomposition methods, relaxation methods, heuristics, among others, as well as to treat other variants of the problem, such as when time windows or a heterogeneous fleet are present, among others.

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