Improve your transportation network

The HPC Supply Chain Innovation Lab is interested in understanding, exploring and improving many aspects of supply chains and complex networks. A core aspect of complex supply chains and projects is their transportation network. We are therefore delighted to host a Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP) solver that can improve the cost, speed and sustainability of your transportation network.

Although there exist many commercial software packages to solve VRPs, these packages must be integrated with the existing software infrastructure of the company, and needs to be learned by the planning managers. Most commercial VRP software packages also have a black-box component, the algorithm determining the vehicle routes. Finally, every real-world application of the VRP has specific needs to which the software should be custom-tailored, requiring a constant link with the company that developed it.

The VRP Spreadsheet Solver overcomes the problems stated above through the familiarity of its interface, ease of use, flexibility, and accessibility. Microsoft Excel is arguably the standard software for small to medium scale quantitative analysis for businesses. Many software packages have built-in functionality to exchange information with Excel, which eases the integration of the solver. The code for the solver, developed using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), is open-source and can be understood and modified by medium-level programmers. The VRP Spreadsheet Solver has built-in functions to query a GIS web service, from which the distances, driving times, and maps can be retrieved. The VRP Spreadsheet Solver was developed by Dr Gunes Erdogan, Reader at the University of Bath, School of Management and is available for free download. The solver has been downloaded over 2,000 times in the past three years.

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