We regularly supervise final theses in cooperation with companies from trade and industry. For many companies this represents a low-threshold opportunity for cooperation. They give students a valuable insight into practice and give us the opportunity to apply research results. Students can find further information on theses here. Companies can find an overview of our forms of cooperation here.
In the following, we present two examples of master's theses that were written by students of the business administration specialization "Supply Chain Management & Logistics".
Heuristic route planning at EDEKA Rhein-Ruhr
EDEKA Rhein-Ruhr supplies EDEKA markets daily with fresh goods by a heterogeneous fleet of trucks. If the existing fleet is not sufficient, expensive forwarding companies must be commissioned to transport the goods. The problem to be solved is a so-called Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP). Since this problem class occurs frequently in practice, a standard software exists to solve it. Due to the large number of company-specific restrictions, standard programs provide only inadequate solutions. These solutions must be corrected at a later stage by dispatchers at considerable cost. To avoid this, an ant algorithm was implemented that iteratively solves the VRP heuristically. Tests with practical data were successful and the algorithm met with great acceptance among the responsible dispatchers.
Warehouse strategy optimization in the central warehouse of a brake technology supplier (TMD Friction Services)
In cooperation with a business partner, a student wrote a master thesis with the title "Identification of the assortment of the ground-level compartment with minimal replenishment and resulting storage area". The forward reverse problem was adjusted to the given problem and solved with different heuristics. The evaluation by means of a simulation in Matlab showed possible savings of 30% regarding the routes by rearranging the stored products. Due to the excellent results, the method was adopted to the operational storage and has proved its worth for serveral months. At the moment, the same method is used to optimize another part of the warehouse.