Flexible work planning of service agents with load balancing

Moshe Eben Chaime, Boaz Shneider, Dani Gilad, Ilan Halachmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This work emerged from the need to better plan the daily work of 29 travelling service agents, who provide 1090 services to 412 customers in 283 sites, on daily average. A handy and flexible tool was developed and is presented herein. A major contribution of this study is an explicit consideration of the multi-dimensional nature of the problem by the inclusion of workload balancing, which may stand in conflict to cost minimisation. Further, the geographical distribution of the demand is highly irregular. Therefore, two load measures are required and balanced. This required to fitting a proper planning scheme. The planning tool has been applied successfully by the commercial service provider. Improvements in the order of 20% and more were obtained in key performance measures. Moreover, cost reductions, service improvement and load balance were obtained simultaneously: the standard deviations of the service times and working day’s duration were reduced by 18 and 58%, respectively. This enables to reduce the number of agents with no significant harm in performance. Additional practical advantages of the proposed tool are also discussed and demonstrated, for example, the ability to cope with geographical distributions and the flexibility to respond to daily variations in demand.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)1027-1038
Number of pages12
JournalProduction Planning and Control
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2016


  • Multi-objective
  • min–max
  • production-line balancing
  • vehicle routing
  • workload balancing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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