Enough Waiting for the Cable Guy—Estimating Arrival Times for Service Vehicle Routing

Service providers dispatch vehicles to provide technical services or deliver goods. In many cases, customers must be present when the provider arrives, and customers are given an estimated time for when the service or delivery will take place. These times must often be given at the time of the request. However, at the time of the request, not all requests that will be serviced are known, and thus, there is uncertainty in the vehicle's arrival time. In this paper, the authors present a method that anticipates future requests and their impact on arrival times in the estimation of arrival times. The proposed approach provides a state-dependent estimate, relying on a state space aggregation to account for the nearly infinite state space. The authors propose an offline method that draws on simulation to learn the values associated with aggregated states. The authors compare the proposed approach with myopic and conventional planning approaches. Results show that the authors' approach significantly increases the service level relative to the benchmarks. The computational experiments also show that the quality of the estimates is impacted by both the requesting customer's distance from the depot and the time of day when the customer calls. Such insights can be useful in developing schemes to increase customer satisfaction.The online appendix is available at https://doi.org/10.1287/trsc.2018.0846.

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  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01714937
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 17 2019 3:36PM