The problem of distributing and collecting blood for a public healthcare system is addressed in this paper. The problem is modelled as a vehicle routing problem with delivery and collection. It is an NP-hard problem that is not amenable to easy solution procedures. A heuristic proposed to find good initial solutions as inputs to an intensive search with meta-heuristics. Cluster of nodes to be visited is formed first. The nodes in a cluster is aligned to a route and then assigned a vehicle to each cluster. Using this solution as input, an intensive search, combining genetic algorithms (GA) and simulated annealing (SA) is carried out. At a significantly enhanced speed of search, encouraging results for test problems are obtained.
K. Ganesh, T. T. Narendran, and Dr. Anbuudayasankar S. P., “Evolving cost-effective routing of vehicles for blood bank logistics”, International Journal of Logistics Systems and Management, vol. 17, pp. 381-415, 2014.