Application of particle swarm optimization to the British Telecom workforce scheduling problem
This work adresses a practical problem that is of relevance in several industries, such as logistics, maintenance work, mobile health care and security services. When workers are deployed in field service, they must be allocated to the correct assignment and their routes should also be optimised as a part of that process. Data from a practical case of British Telecom has been used widely in the literature to test many different solution methods. We suggest a modification of particle swarm optimization (PSO) for this problem and compare the performance of the resulting hybrid approach to competing solution methods. PSO produces better results than the currently best-known solution that was achieved using fast guided local search. Combined with our previous results on sub-daily staff scheduling in logistics this result underlines the potential of PSO to solve complex workforce scheduling problems. Moreover, there is a strong indication that hybridising a metaheuristic with a problem-specific repair heuristic is a useful approach of resolving the conflict between do-main-specific characteristics of a real-world problem and the desire to employ a generic optimisation technique, at least in the domain of workforce management.
Ilmenauer Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsinformatik Nr. 2013-04 / Technische Universität Ilmenau, Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Institut für Wirtschaftsinformatik ISSN 1861-9223 ISBN 978-3-938940-49-5
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