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European Journal of Operational Research 176 (2007) 18391858 www.elsevier.


O.R. Applications

Combination of MCDM and covering techniques in a hierarchical model for facility location: A case study
Reza Zanjirani Farahani


, Nasrin Asgari

Department of Industrial Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran b Supply Chain Management Research Group, Tehran, Iran Received 27 July 2004; accepted 27 October 2005 Available online 19 January 2006

Abstract In this paper, locating some warehouses as distribution centers (DCs) in a real-world military logistics system will be investigated. There are two objectives: nding the least number of DCs and locating them in the best possible locations. The rst objective implies the minimum cost of locating the facilities and the latter expresses the quality of the DCs locations, which is evaluated by studying the value of appropriate attributes aecting the quality of a location. Quality of a location depends on a number of attributes; so the value of each location is determined by using Multi Attribute Decision Making models, by considering the feasible alternatives, the related attributes and their weights according to decision makers (DM) point of view. Then, regarding the obtained values and the minimum number of DCs, the two objective functions are formed. Constraints imposed on these two objectives cover all centers, which must be supported by the DCs. Using Multiple Objective Decision Making techniques, the locations of DCs are determined. In the nal phase, we use a simple set partitioning model to assign each supported center to only one of the located DCs. 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Location; MADM; Set covering; MODM; Set partitioning

1. Introduction In this paper, a real-world case study about locating supportive centers in a military logistics system will be investigated. First, we give a summary of the functions of this system; then the scope of the problem will be presented.

Corresponding author. Tel.: +98 21 66413034/66497; fax: +98 21 66413025. E-mail address: farahan@aut.ac.ir (R.Z. Farahani).

0377-2217/$ - see front matter 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2005.10.039


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Our supply chain is composed of three types of facilities: origins; supportive centers; supported centers. These facilities are depicted in Fig. 1. The arrows show the direction of items ow. Now we give a short description about the facilities. 1.1. Origins (sources for supplying all needed goods and materials) Facilities, which are referred to origins, are physically xed and their locations and characteristics are known. Origins include harbors, airports and factories. Foreign goods are imported via harbors and airports, and other goods (goods manufactured by national factories) are shipped from manufacturer factories. We can put these national factories into two categories: Ministry of Defense subsidiaries; Independent factories (independent from Ministry of Defense). When factories from both categories can supply what is needed, we assume they all have equal priority and the selected origin will be the one that can best assist in achieving logistics goals; therefore, dierent origins could be thought as competitors. 1.2. Supportive centers (warehouses, repair shops and terminals for receiving, storing and shipping all needed goods and materials to supported centers) There exist a xed number of supportive centers and possible location; but their number and locations are currently unknown and are supposed be determined here. They receive the required items from the origins and ship them to the supported centers; so they can be referred to as Central Warehouses (CW). There are no limitations on the relationship between the origins and supportive centers; i.e. requirements of each supportive center can be supplied by any of the origins. Logistics Department is the procurement unit of a military organization and plays an important role in procurement of needed goods, materials and equipments and keeping them in ready-to-be-used state. It is a system of great importance for achieving goals, fullling missions and increasing eciency and eectiveness of a military organization, and just like other operational systems assist the organization in choosing the best organizational goals and strategies. Logistics Department system is made of a number of sub-systems such as warehousing, repair and maintenance, transportation, standardization, estimation, procurement,

Sources for supplying all needed goods and materials

Supportive centers
Supportive centers that serve as intermediate nodes

Supported centers
Supported centers that consume shipped goods and materials

Fig. 1. The three types of facilities serving in a military logistics system.

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distribution, recycling, and assets control systems. In this case, the supportive centers are composed of three types of physical entities including warehouses, repair shops and transportation terminals. 1.3. Supported centers (centers that consume the shipped goods and materials) These facilities are usually of xed locations. Items supplied by origins are shipped to supportive centers and are eventually distributed among supported centers. However, some items are transferred directly from origins to supported centers (direct shipment). Supported centers can be considered as regional warehouses (RW) in a supply chain. There are limitations for the relationship between the supportive centers and supported centers; each supportive center covers a certain number of supported centers and each supported center is assigned to only one supportive center (except for critical periods of time when some supportive centers might help other supportive centers which need assistance). If we take all components of each entity in Fig. 1 into account, Fig. 2 will be resulted. The network structure of this gure could be thought as a supply chain, considering each node as a xed entity of supply chain. In Fig. 2, the arrows show the direction of material and information ow between the existing facilities. We have already briey explained the functionality of each facility. When planning such systems, two phases can be considered: rst, nding the location of supportive centers so that they cover all the supported centers; second, nding a shipment strategy for the ow of items between these three types of facilities by solving the relevant multi-commodity transshipment problem. The scope of our problem is limited to the rst phase.

Direct shipment Origins Supportive centers

Supported centers

. . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Decision maker group

. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . .


Fig. 2. Network structure of Logistics Department system including its components.


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Finding the number and locations of the supportive centers is the problem discussed in this paper. In addition, after nding the location of supportive centers, allocating the supported centers to the supportive centers in a way that each supported center is assigned to only one supportive center, is also included as the nal step. In this paper, we want to partition all supported centers in a minimum number of groups so that each group is assigned to only one supportive center; the entities of each group receive their needed items from their own supportive center, which is assigned to them. Note that, in a military location problem, the quality of supportive centers location is an important issue that will be also investigated here. In summary, the problem is to nd the number of needed supportive centers, locations of supportive centers and partitioning of supported centers in a way that each supported centre is assigned to only one supportive centre. The objective functions and the constraints of the problem are as follows: Objective function 1: Maximizing the utility of the selected locations. Utility of a potential point depends on 23 attributes that will be explained later. Objective function 2: Minimizing the number of supportive centers. Constraint 1: All of the supported centers must be covered (coverage criteria will be presented later) by supportive centers. Constraint 2: Each of the supported centers must be supported by one and only one of the located supportive centers. In a problem relatively similar to that of this paper, but for health facilities in a new city, Berghmans et al. (1984) using techniques of location theory in network nd the smallest number of centers that will ensure that all inhabitants are located within the critical distance. In their problem, a new city is under construction in a developing country. The future population projection of town is established and the ratio of medical personnel to inhabitants is xed according to health policy criteria. The primary care system should be composed of a set of health centers, which are identical with regard to equipment and personnel. The problem is to determine the number and thus the size of the health centers, and their location. The solution depends on two opposing factors: the total construction cost, which is increasing with the number of centers, and the walking distance for the patient, which is decreasing with the number of centers. They develop a Fortran program in which the sensitivity of the solution is studied as a function of the given critical distance. The case discussed in this paper is the problem concerns location theory, specially set covering problems. These problems have attracted signicant research eort since the beginning of 1960s. Since then, numerous problem types have been identied and methodologies developed to solve these problems have been used to make decisions pertaining to the location of facilities in many practical applications. Brandeau and Chui (1989) present a survey of representative problems that have been studied in location problems (see also Ghosh and Rushton (1987) and Daskin (1995) for detailed discussions on location models). Multicriteria analysis of location problems has received considerable attention within the scope of continuous and network models in the recent years; there are several problems that are accepted as classical ones: the point-objective problem (Wendell and Hurter, 1973; Hansen et al., 1980; Pelegrin and Fernandez, 1988; Carrizosa et al., 1993), the continuous multicriteria min-sum facility location problem (Hamacher and Nickel, 1996; Puerto and Fernandez, 1999), and the network multicriteria median location problem (Hamacher et al., 1998; Wendell et al., 1977), among others. The case of this research is a multicriteria (including multiattribute and multiobjective) set covering problem. So far, multicriteria analysis of discrete Location Problems has attracted less attention. Several authors have dealt with problems and applications of multicriteria decision analysis in this eld. For instance, Ross and Soland (1980) worked on multiactivitymultifacility problems and proposed an interactive solution method to compute non-dominated solutions to compare and choose from. In Lee et al.

R.Z. Farahani, N. Asgari / European Journal of Operational Research 176 (2007) 18391858


(1981), an application of integer goal programming for facility location with multiple competing objectives is studied. Solanki (1991) applies an approximation scheme to generate a set of non-dominated solutions to a bi-objective location problem. Recently, Ogryczak (1999) looks for symmetrically ecient location patterns in a multicriteria discrete location problem. In general, none of the above papers, focuses on the complete determination of the whole set of non-dominated solutions. The only exception is the paper by Ross and Soland (1980) that gives a theoretical characterization but do not exploit its algorithmic possibilities. Nowadays, multiobjective combinatorial optimization (MOCO) (see Ehrgott and Gandibleux, 2000; Ulungu and Teghem, 1994) provides an adequate framework to tackle various types of discrete multicriteria problems. Within this emergent research area several methods are known to handle dierent problems such as dynamic programming enumeration (Villarreal and Karwan, 1981; for a methodological description; Klamroth and Wiecek, 2000; for a recent application to knapsack problems) and implicit enumeration (Zionts and Wallenius, 1980; Zionts, 1979; Klein and Hannan, 1982; Rasmussen, 1986; Ramesh et al., 1986). Another approach based on labeling algorithms can be seen in Captivo et al. (2000). It is worth noting that most of MOCO problems are NP-hard and intractable (Ehrgott and Gandibleux, 2000; for further details). Even in most of the cases where the single-objective problem is polynomially solvable the multiobjective version becomes NP-hard. This is the case of spanning tree problems and min-cost ow problems, among others. In the case of uncapacitated plant location problem (UPLP), the single-objective version is already NP-hard (Krarup and Pruzan, 1983). This ensures that the multiobjective formulation is not solvable in polynomial time. In this context, when time and eciency become real issues, dierent alternatives can be used to approximate the Pareto optimal set. One of them is the use of general-purpose MOCO heuristics (Gandibleux et al., 2000). Another possibility is designing ad hoc methods based on one of the following strategies: Computing the supported non-dominated solutions; Performing a partial enumeration of the solutions space. Obviously, the second strategy does not guarantee the non-dominated character of all the generated solutions since we only consider the solutions obtained during the partial search. Nevertheless the reduction in computation time can be remarkable.

2. The data We present our methodology in ve phases. In each phase, we explain the type and the size of inputs, process and outputs. Phase 1. Determining all attributes that inuence the utility of a location. These attributes are divided into three groups as only pure non-compensatory (PN), pure compensatory (PC) or both (NC). The list of attributes aecting on the utility of a supportive location is as follows: Climate:  Temperature (PC)  Rain (PC)  Humidity (PC)  Sunshine (PC) Geological:  Earthquake intensity (PN)  Flood history (PN)  Interruption of earth (PN)


R.Z. Farahani, N. Asgari / European Journal of Operational Research 176 (2007) 18391858

Military:  Active defensive (NC)  Non-active defensive (PC)  Frontier threats (NC)  Internal threats (NC)  Access to supported echelons (NC)  Density of supported echelons (NC) Economical:  Native expert labors (PC)  Economic activities (PC) Infra-structures:  Access to roads (PC)  Access to rails (PC)  Access to airports (PC)  Access to harbors (PC)  Access to water resources (PC)  Access to power lines (PC)  Access to dispatching centers (PC)  Access to fuel stations (PC)  Personnel convenience (PC) There are a total number of 24 attributes. Regarding the above list, we can divide the attributes into two groups (Fig. 3): Non-compensatory attributes: These are eight attributes which must be satised at a minimum standard level; otherwise the corresponding alternatives are not feasible and will be removed. For example, about Frontier threats there is a standard level about 90 km distance from the country frontier; it means that each alternative having the distance less than 90 km from the frontier is not suitable for locating a supportive center. Compensatory attributes: These are 21 very important attributes which determine the desirability of a potential location. However, no standard level is dened for them; all we know is the direction of their desirability. Note that some of the attributes like Frontier threats can be both non-compensatory and compensatory. For example, we do not want to locate our supportive centers closer than 90 km to frontier. In addition, 110 km distance from the frontier is better than 100 km; i.e. the distance from frontier is an attribute with a dual aspect; so it is also compensatory.

Attributes affecting the utilization of a potential location (24)

Non-compensatory: PN & NC (8) Compensatory: PC & NC (21)

Fig. 3. Determining all attributes that aect on the utility of a location.

R.Z. Farahani, N. Asgari / European Journal of Operational Research 176 (2007) 18391858


Input 290 cities as first initial alternatives List of 3 non-compensatory attributes The direction of attributes desirability

Process Removing the alternatives out of desirability direction: Max: Less than this Min: More than this Interval: Out of interval

Output 33 feasible alternatives (cities) which should be evaluated for locating the supportive centers

Fig. 4. Evaluating non-compensatory attributes for alternatives.

Table 1 An example showing the process of changing an Interval attribute to a Min attribute # of months with Temperature more than 22 C (in a year) 5 # of months with Temperature less than 18 C (in a year) 6 Mean of Temperature more than 22 C (in a year) 27.66 Mean of Temperature less than 18 C (in a year) 9.93 Weight associated with cooling costs 5 Weight associated with heating costs 1 Total penalty Total penalty of cooling (5) * (27.66 22) * (5) = 141.5 Total penalty of heating (6) * (18 9.93) * (1) = 48.42 189.92

The most important thing we need to know about both types of the attributes is the direction of their desirability. The direction of desirability for an attribute can be Max, Min or being in an interval. For example, less Frontier threats is desirable (Min), better Access to airport from a location is desirable (Max) and Temperature is an attribute which its desirability is the best between 18 and 22 C (Interval). Phase 2. In this phase, we use all possible alternatives as initial inputs of our process. Based on the nature of the supportive centers and existence of needed data about the locations, we consider 290 cities in the country as initial alternatives. In this phase, we only need to have information about non-compensatory attributes of the alternatives. Regarding the information and the direction of desirability and standard levels, we can remove most of weak alternatives. Implicitly, non-compensatory attributes are those having the most value or weight in evaluation process. After passing this phase, the feasible alternatives reduced to 33. Fig. 4 shows the process. In the next phase, we use MADM techniques to assess the quality of feasible locations; so we must bear in mind that: All attributes of the type (Interval) must change to either Max or Min. Table 1 shows an example. Temperature (Interval) is an attribute that its desirability is being between 18 and 22 C. When the Temperature is less than 18 C, there are heating costs and when the Temperature is more than 22 C, there are cooling costs. In our country, the costs of cooling are about 5 times more than the costs of heating. Based on the information, we have dened a penalty for heating and another one for cooling. As shown in Table 1, total penalty to have the Temperature in the desired interval is 189.92; thus, we have changed and Interval type attribute to a (Min) type attribute.

3. The method In this section, a suitable MADM technique is used to assess the quality of the locations and MODM techniques are used to consider two mentioned objective functions.


R.Z. Farahani, N. Asgari / European Journal of Operational Research 176 (2007) 18391858

3.1. MADM Phase 3. Using MADM techniques to assess the quality of the locations. Normally, MADM methods are used to select the best alternatives. In this phase with respect to compensatory alternatives, we only try to determine the value of each of the 33 feasible alternatives. Fig. 5 shows this process. Suppose all of the attributes are of the types Min or Max. Using each MADM model is not feasible. Based on the type of available information about the attributes and the alternatives, using LINMAP, SAW, TOPSIS, ELECTRE and AHP is admissible (Hwang and Yoon, 1981). But a more exact investigation shows that some techniques like TOPSIS and ELECTRE are the best for this case because we have both desirable directions (Min and Max); also the dimension of the attributes are dierent and should be normalized. However, due to simplicity of implementation and calculation eorts, we have used TOPSIS. In some cases, using group decision making techniques will also be useful (Hwang and Lin, 1987). Thus, we need a decision matrix, direction of desirability of attributes and weight of each attribute. We have generated the decision matrix, have calculated the direction of attributes and have used brain storming technique to nd the weights of the attributes. Details on TOPSIS and on the way to obtain the values of each alternative can be expressed as follows: TOPSIS works based upon the concept that the best alternative should have the shortest distance from the ideal solution and the farthest from the negative ideal solution. The TOPSIS method evaluates the following decision matrix which contains m alternative associated with n attributes (or criteria).

where Ai = the ith alternative considered; xij = the numerical outcome of the ith alternative with respect to the jth criterion. TOPSIS assumes that each attribute in the decision matrix takes either monotonically increasing or monotonically decreasing utility. For the sake of simplicity, the proposed method will be presented as a series of successive steps. Step 1: Constructing the normalized decision matrix: An element rij of the normalized decision matrix R can be calculated as

Input 33 feasible alternatives List of 22 compensatory attributes The direction of attributes desirability Weights of attributes

Process A suitable MADM method and its formula for evaluating feasible alternatives

Output Value of each of 33 feasible alternatives which are potentially suitable for locating the supportive centers

Fig. 5. Using a MADM technique to determine the value of each feasible alternative.

R.Z. Farahani, N. Asgari / European Journal of Operational Research 176 (2007) 18391858


,s m X rij xij x2 ij

Step 2: Constructing the weighted normalized decision matrix P: A set of weights is applied to the decision matrix in this step as w w1 ; w2 ; . . . ; wj ; . . . ; wn ; n j1 wj 1. This matrix can be calculated by multiplying each column of the matrix R with its associated weight wj. Therefore, the weighted normalized decision matrix V equals to: 3 2 3 2 r11 w1 r12 w2 r1j wj r1n wn v11 v12 v1j v1n 6 v21 v22 v2j v2n 7 6 r21 w1 r22 w2 r2j w2 r2n wn 7 7 6 7 6 7 6 7 6 7 6 7 6 76 7. 3 V 6 7 7 6v 6 6 i1 vi2 vij vin 7 6 ri1 w1 ri2 w2 rij w2 rin wn 7 7 6 7 6 5 4 5 4 vm1 vm2 vmj vmn rm1 w1 rm2 w2 rmj w2 rmn wn  be dened Step 3: Determining ideal and negative ideal solutions: Let the two articial alternatives A* and A as   n o 0 A max vij j j 2 J ; min vij j j 2 J j i 1; 2; . . . ; m v ; v ; . . . ; v ; . . . ; v ; 1 2 j n i i   4 0  v1 ;  v2 ; . . . ;  vj ; . . . ;  vn ; A min vij j j 2 J ; max vij j j 2 J j i 1; 2; . . . ; m 
i i

where J = {j = 1,2, . . . , n} is associated with benet criteria and J 0 = {j = 1,2, . . . , n} is associated  , indicate the most with cost criteria. Then it is certain that the two created alternatives, A* and A preferable alternative (ideal solution) and the least preferable alternative (negative ideal solution), respectively. Step 4: Calculating the separation measure: The separation between each alternative and the ideal alternative can be measured by n-dimensional Euclidean distance. The separation of each alternative from the ideal one is then given by v uX u n 2 Si t vij v i 1; 2; . . . ; m. 5 j ;
j 1

Similarly, the separation from the negative ideal one is given by v uX 2 u n  vij  v j ; i 1; 2; . . . ; m Si t
j 1

Step 5: Calculating the relative closeness to the ideal solution: The relative closeness of Ai with respect to A* is dened as  i = S S i ; 0 < ci < 1; i 1; 2; . . . ; m. ci S 7

 . As ci approaches 1, the alternative Ai gets cloIt is clear that ci = 1 if Ai = A* and ci = 0 if Ai A ser to A* Step 6: Ranking the preference order: A set of alternative can now be preference ranked according to the decreasing order of ci. However, we do not use ranked alternatives in our approach and the value of relative closeness is enough to continue the procedure.


R.Z. Farahani, N. Asgari / European Journal of Operational Research 176 (2007) 18391858

Table 2 Alternative values obtained using TOPSIS Alternative number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Value 0.616718051 0.648638876 0.545607304 0.401226814 0.726808475 0.644903229 0.447647134 0.432739482 0.356353625 0.501587791 0.527746396 Alternative number 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Value 0.569516411 0.366833018 0.391782644 0.544899959 0.426770197 0.538974198 0.430901064 0.538031619 0.502618398 0.358274458 0.343801152 Alternative number 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 Value 0.366009513 0.401703224 0.678917671 0.460527698 0.468727165 0.560255452 0.486903632 0.604193376 0.463161706 0.473980436 0.512756125

The output of this phase is ci that is the value of locating a supportive center in location i. Using MADM methods, usually cis are between 0 and 1, where 1 indicates the ideal location and 0 the worst. In this case, the obtained values are shown in Table 2. 3.2. MODM Phase 4. Using a multiple objective set covering model to nd the best locations. Covering problems hold a central place in location theory. In these problems, we are given a set of demand points and a set of potential sites for locating facilities. A demand point is said to be covered by a facility if it lies within a pre-specied distance of that facility. Using the classication proposed by Daskin (1995), covering problems are divided into two main classes: set (total) covering problems which consists of covering all demand points with the minimum number of facilities; and maximal (partial) covering problems which consist of covering a maximum number of demand points with a xed number of facilities (Church and ReVelle, 1974). Daskin et al. (1988) examine extensions to covering models, such as the concepts of multiple, excess, backup, and expected coverage. Schilling et al. (1993) provide a detailed review of the covering models in facility location. Boey and Narula (1997) survey the multiobjective covering and routing problems. However, covering problems and proposed techniques for solving them may be important to model the service facility location problems, military logistics problems, and military targeting problems in the presence of partial coverage (Karasakal and Karasakal, 2004). Set covering model is as follows (Francis et al., 1992; Drezner, 1995; Daskin, 1995; Mirchandani and Francis, 1990): m X min Z 1 xi ; 8

m X i1

aki xi P 1;

k 1; . . . ; n;

x i 2 f0; 1g;

i 1; . . . ; p ;

xi is a binary variable that is equal to one if the feasible alternative i (a potential location for supportive centers) is suitable for locating supportive centers; otherwise it is equal to 0. The objective function (8) ensures that the minimum number of supportive centers are located. Constraint (9) ensures that all of the supported centers are covered. In this expression A = [aki] is called covering matrix; aki is equal to 1 if a

R.Z. Farahani, N. Asgari / European Journal of Operational Research 176 (2007) 18391858


potential supportive center located in location i (xi = 1) is able to cover the supported center located in location k. Generating a covering matrix A = [aki] is based on a factor called critical distance. Critical distance is the maximum time or distance that a supportive center can serve. Covering models focus on the worst-case behavior of the system (Daskin, 1995). In our problem, we have used critical distances equal to 8, 12 or 24 hours. Here, there are a number of 233 supported centers. We have designed a modied set covering model with two objective functions as follows (Model 0): min Model 0 max s.t.
33 X i 1

Z1 Z2

33 X i1 33 X i 1

xi ; ci xi ;

10 11

aki xi P 1;

k 1; . . . ; 233;


x i 2 f0; 1g;

i 1; . . . ; 33;

where ci has been already dened as output of Phase 3. The objective function (10) is similar to (8). The objective function (11) maximizes the quality of the selected facilities. The constraint (12) is similar to (9). In this problem, we have considered three scenarios as follows: Scenario 0 (Model 0): The problem is solved for the rst time and no supportive center already exists. In this case, the model is the same as Model 0. Scenario 1 (Model 1): There already exist some active supportive centers (existing facilities) and all of these supportive centers must carry on operating. In this case, we treat the location of these existing facilities as new locations. But in Phase 4 we use Model 1 instead of Model 0 in which we have added the following constraints: xi 1 8i 2 fset of existing facilitiesg. 13 Scenario 2 (Model 2): There already exist some active supportive centers (existing facilities) and we try to keep them active if possible. In this case, we consider the location of these existing facilities as new locations. However, in Phase 4 we use Model 2 instead of Model 0 in which we have used the following objective function instead of (10): min Z1
n1 X i1

xi 1 e

n X in1 1

xi ;


where n1 shows the number of existing supportive centers and (n n1) shows the number of new supportive centers. e is a parameter that tries to increase the coecient of binary variables of the new facilities; this forces the objective function to use existing facilities as much as possible. Our computational results and sensitivity analysis show that e = 2/n is an appropriate value in this case. In summary, Phase 4 can be summarized as is shown in Fig. 6. Many optimal heuristics and meta-heuristics like GA have been proposed for solving covering problems (Aickelin, 2003; Fisher and Kedia, 1990). However, based on the selected method and the size of problem we have used LINGO 8.00 as powerful software for solving problems (Roe, 1997). There are two objectives in the model; so we face a multiple objective decision making (MODM) problem. There have been many


R.Z. Farahani, N. Asgari / European Journal of Operational Research 176 (2007) 18391858

Input Value of 33 feasible alternatives (ci) Critical distance (8, 16 or 24 hours) Covering matrix A=[aij]


Output The locations of all of supportive centers

A covering model with two objective functions Suitable MODM method and its formulas for evaluating the feasible alternatives

Fig. 6. Phase 4 of the methodology from a systematic point of view.

attempts at surveying this area (Hwang and Lin, 1987; Hwang and Masud, 1979; Szidarovszky et al., 1986; Ulungu and Teghem, 1994; Zionts, 1979). In this case, we chose a simple method to treat an MODM problem for each critical distance (8, 12 or 24 hours) and each scenario (0, 1 or 2) as follows. 3.2.1. Conicting objectives It is in the nature of MODM problems to have conicting objectives; as an example, Fig. 7 depicts the values of the conicting objectives (normalized) in one of our models. Therefore, in this phase we face a MODM problem. Note that the rst objective function must be minimized and the second must be maximized. In Table 3, we have xed the value of Z1 in a constraint to nd the optimal value of Z2 (say Z 2 ; then to ensure the obtained values are correct, we double-checked the model by xing Z in a constraint to nd 2 optimal value of Z1 (say Z ). Then by calculating min f Z ; Z g , corresponding values in the table are 1 1 1 selected. In the table (of the scenario 0 with 8-hour critical distance) we stop at Z1 = 11 because with respect to the constraints to cover all the supported centers at least 11 facilities must be opened. 3.2.2. Ecient solution An ideal solution to a MODM problem is one that results in the optimum value of each of the objective functions simultaneously. For instance, (Z1, Z2) = (6, 16.33952) is corresponding to an ideal solution (of the scenario 0 with 12-hour critical distance). The ideal solution is not feasible. An ecient solution (Ulungu and Teghem, 1994) (also known as non-inferior solution or non-dominated solution) is one in which no one objective function can be improved without a simultaneous detriment to the other objective. For instance, the ecient solution of the scenario 1 with 12-hour critical distance is shown in Fig. 7.

1.2 1 Z 2 /Z 2 (Max) 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 0 1 2 3 * (Min) Z1/Z1 4 5 6

Fig. 7. Objective function space representation of feasible area (of the scenario 0 with 12-hour critical distance).

R.Z. Farahani, N. Asgari / European Journal of Operational Research 176 (2007) 18391858 Table 3 Comparison between values of objectives (of the scenario 0 with 8-hour critical distance) Z2 Z1 Z2 Z1 16.3395 33 11.9718 22 15.9957 32 11.5113 21 15.6374 31 11.0426 20 15.2714 30 10.5557 19 14.9046 29 14.5128 28 14.1116 27 8.47811 15 13.7099 26 7.91785 14 13.2831 25 7.31366 13 12.8522 24 6.66876 12


12.4195 23 5.27667 11

10.0541 18

9.55146 17

9.02372 16

3.2.3. A preferred solution A preferred solution (also known as the best solution) is an ecient solution, which is chosen by the decision maker (DM) as the nal decision. We have used some of simple MODM methods and some sensibility analysis to choose a preferred solution. Note that our information about the importance of the objectives is not ordinal; so, using some of the ordinal methods like Lexicographic method that requires the objectives to be ranked in order of importance by DM is not feasible. Our case is in a military system, thus cost (corresponding the rst objective) is not as important as it is in a business system. However, the objective is of type cardinal. We have used Utility function method. Forming a suitable utility function is not simple, however, we have formed a simple utility function; the idea arose from global criterion method as follows: Global criterion method. The method of global criterion for a MODM problem solves the problem given by following objective function subject to the model constraints (Hwang and Masud, 1979). Note that the rst objective is of type minimization and second is of the type maximization: p p min U p Z 1 Z Z 2 Z 2 =Z 15 1 =Z 1 2 Boychuk and Ovchinnikov (1973) have suggested p = 1 and Salukvadze (1971) has suggested p = 2 for the global criterion; of course these are only two of the many possible expressions that can be used. It is also possible to choose any other value for p. In our case, we have used both values for p. All of the objective functions and constraints are linear functions and putting p = 1 (15) becomes a linear programming problem. All LP solvers can solve such problem. For instance, U1 = 0.921123 and x5 = x28 = 1 (of the scenario 0 with 24-hour critical distance); i.e. two new facilities should be located at the locations i = 5 and 28. (Note that in the scenario 0 with 24-hour critical distance, with respect to the constraints to cover all the supported centers, at least two facilities must be opened). When all the objectives and all the constraints are linear functions and p = 2, then (15) becomes a convex programming problem (Szidarovszky et al., 1986; Hwang and Masud, 1979); more precisely a quadratic programming problem. Therefore, this problem can be solved by using any solver of nding a local extreme; this local is absolute or global. For example, U2 = 0.8486647 and x5 = x28 = 1 (of the scenario 0 with 24-hour critical distance); i.e. two new facilities should be located at the locations i = 5 and 28. Utility function method. This method requires a utility function to be known prior to solving the MODM. The utility function would take into consideration the DMs preferences. Determination of utility function is not simple. The major advantage of utility function method is that if the function has been correctly assessed and used, it will ensure the most satisfactory solution to the DM. The common form assumes that: DMs utility function is additively separable with respect to the objectives; A special form of utility function that has been widely used in MODM problems uses the weights wr to indicate the importance (as cardinal) of each objective. It is better to get wrs from the DM. However, we have used the two following utility functions with p = 1 and 2:


R.Z. Farahani, N. Asgari / European Journal of Operational Research 176 (2007) 18391858
33 X i1

!, ! xi Z 1 Z 1 w2 Z 2


U 1 w1

33 X i 1

!, ! ci xi Z 2 ; !, !2 ci xi Z 2 ; 17 16

w1 w2 1; min U 2 w1
33 X i1

!, !2 xi Z 1 Z 1 w2 Z 2

33 X i 1

w1 w2 1. The advantage of using this utility function is its simplicity. The disadvantage of this approach is: There are very few cases where utility functions are additively separable. The wrs depend upon both the achievement level of Zr itself, and the relative achievement of Zr compared to the achievement levels of the other objective functions.

3.2.4. Sensibility analysis We used two simple types of sensibility analysis. The rst shows the weight of the objective function of utility function method against the weight of the rst objective function (w1) (of the all scenarios and all the critical distances). Fig. 8 shows one of these instances. The second shows the values of normalized objective functions against the value of the rst objective function. Fig. 9 shows one of these instances. 3.3. Districting model Phase 5. After determining the locations of all the supportive centers in Phase 4, we should solve a districting or partitioning problem to assign each of the supported centers to only one of the located supportive centers. Many algorithms have been proposed for partitioning and districting problem (Bozkaya et al., 2003; Fisher and Kedia, 1990). Here, we made a model as follows: For the supported center i which potentially can be covered by only one of the located supportive centers j (aij = 1), there is not any problem in allocating; i.e. we have only one element 1 in column j provided


The value of two utility functions

0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 The first objective function value The second objective function value

The weight of the first objective function

Fig. 8. The value of utility functions against the weight of the rst objective function (of the scenario 0 with 12-hour critical distance).

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The normalized objective function values with respect to the first utility function
6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2
The first objective function value The second objective function value


The weight of the first objective function against the other

Fig. 9. The normalized objective function values (using the rst utility function) against the weight of the rst objective function (of the scenario 0 with 12-hour critical distance).

xj = 1. The problem arises when a supported center rests in the critical distance of more than one of the located supportive centers. Suppose that after solving the MODM model in Phase 4 we have found p (p 6 n) locations for locating all of the supportive centers. In this phase, we made a new matrix Bmp = [bik] out of Amn = [aij] by deleting some of the columns in Amn corresponding to the variables xj = 0. The objective functions and the constraints of the problem are as follows: Objective function type 1: The number of assigned supported centers to each of the located supportive centers must be as balanced as possible. Objective function type 2: The dierence between the demands of dierent supportive centers must be as little as possible. Constraints: Assign each of the existing xed supported centers to only one of the located supportive centers. Therefore, we have a model as follows: ! 233 X q min U max wk bkl y kl ;
l 1 k 1


q X l 1

bkl y kl 1;

k 1; . . . ; 233; k 1; . . . ; 233; l 1; . . . ; q;


y kl 2 f0; 1g;

ykl is a binary variable that is equal to 1 if the supported center k is assigned to the located supportive center l; otherwise is equal to 0. wk is the amount of demand (or size) of the supported center k. The objective function (18) ensures that the amount of demand imposed by assigned supported centers to each of the located supportive centers is equaled, as much as possible. The constraint (19) ensures that each of the supported centers is assigned to only one of the supportive centers. Note that the objective function (18) is nonlinear (because of max operator) and we can easily linearize it by adding new variables and constraints. In brief, Phase 5 can be summarized as shown in Fig. 10.


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Input Supportive centers locations Criteria for appropriate allocation Modified covering matrix

Process Suitable partitioning model with respect to selected criteria for appropriate allocation

Output Type of allocation or covering domain of each supportive center

Bm q=[bkl]

Fig. 10. Phase 5 of the methodology from a systematic point of view.

Our model becomes more ecient if we reduce the size of the problem, by applying the following two modications: Let ykl = 1 for the supported centers which can be covered only by one of the supportive centers. Dene ykl only for bkls which are equal to 1 (most of the elements in Bmq = [bkl] are zero). Therefore, sparsity of the matrix aects the number of binary variables. For instance, the sparsity of the matrix in this case (for the selected critical distance) is 16.07%. We solved the above-mentioned mathematical model in order to partition supported centers and assign them to the supportive centers (whose locations were found in Phase 4).

4. Experimental results and implementation In this case, there was a military decision maker group including some of high-level military commanders who made some strategic decisions after investigating the proposed critical distance, the scenarios, and the outputs of computational results. This group made their decisions in brain storming sessions. For solving the above-mentioned mathematical models and performing sensibility analysis, any commercial ILP solver can be used. Our models were run on a PC with a Intel 1.4, Pentium 4 CPU and 256 Mb of RAM. The summary of the decisions made are as follows. 4.1. Critical distances Military problems are critical and sensitive. In business problems, cost generally plays very important role in making decisions, while in military problems cost can be only one of the factors aecting making decisions. As seen before, we used many factors in designing models; but because of high investment needed to build supportive centers, cost limited our decisions. In this case, we prefer critical distance to be as small as possible. Considering the objective function (10), at least two supported centers for the 24-hour critical distance, 6 supported centers for the 12-hour critical distance and 11 supported centers for the 8-hour critical distance are needed. Regarding the required initial investment and annual operating costs, the decision maker group decided to use the 12-hour critical distance (presently, critical distance is 24 hours). 4.2. Scenarios After investigating computational results of the three scenarios using objective function (10) we saw that: Scenario 0: At least six new facilities are needed; these facilities are all new and none of them currently exists;

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Scenario 1: At least eight facilities are needed; 5 of them are new facilities; and 3 of them are existing facilities which all must continue operating; Scenario 2: At least seven facilities are needed; ve of them are new facilities; and two are among the three existing facilities and must keep on operating. Again, regarding the required initial investment and annual operating costs, the decision maker group decided to use the 12-hour critical distance (presently, critical distance is 24 hours). 4.3. Utility functions The decision maker group, based on their experiences and after investigating computational results, decided to use the utility function. The members of the group believe that normally in making military, emergency and critical decisions, utility function (17) results better match with real world requirements than (16). Thus, we have used the quadratic utility function. 4.4. Objective values Using sensibility analysis on the objective function values and considering the selected critical distance, the selected scenario and the selected utility function, the decision maker group decided to use values w1 = 0.65 and w2 = 0.35. Our investigations show that making decision around w1 = 0.1 is too sensitive; fortunately the opinion of the group about w1 is signicantly far from 0.1. 4.5. Benets The major benets of the proposed model in comparison with the current situation are as follows: In the current situation, three supportive centers serve in Logistics Department system. Using the proposed model, this number increases; but critical distance in serving the supported centers improves by about 105%. With respect to the selected critical distance, currently about 9.5% of existing supported centers are out of critical distance (coverage radius); while in the proposed model, there are not any supported centers out of the critical distance of their assigned supportive center. Currently, the workload of supportive centers are very unbalanced; for instance, the amount of workload of the largest supportive center is 2.4 times greater than the smallest one; while in the proposed system this ratio has decreased to 0.35.

4.6. Implementation problems Some important issues should be considered in using the proposed model: The model works only at the time of peace; i.e. in war condition most of supported centers (corps and brigades) move to the related war region; so they enter the region assigned to the other supportive centers which is not considered in the model. Obviously, the war situation is a critical situation and its planning issues (response to such events) will dier from peace condition. There are two types of supported centers: mobile and xed. Most of the supported centers are xed in location. Mobile supported centers move all around the country based on their missions; so, those will use the materials stored in the related supportive centers of the region where they are positioned


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temporarily. This will aect the workload of the supportive centers and make it dynamic. These mobile crops and brigades are not considered in the model; for solving this problem, we proposed operational solutions; i.e. we consider an allowance for the stored goods and material in the supported centers that will be used in such conditions by mobile facilities.

4.7. Future works Based on the experiences gained during this case study, following researches are proposed: The supportive centers are large military structures that need large amounts of investment, therefore building such facilities simultaneously is impossible. Based on the time needed to build these facilities and time constraints to prepare the facilities, designing a prioritization plan for installing the proposed supportive centers is an important research area. Critical distance is a dynamic parameter; for instance, based on the dierence between velocity of the vehicles moving from the supportive centers to the supported centers in winter and summer, some problems will occur. Thus, solving a dynamic (time dependent) covering problem is a worthy research area. In the proposed model, the relationship between the supportive centers (via moving needed materials and goods) is not considered; this will be an important issue especially in the war conditions when many mobile facilities accumulate in an emergency region. Thus, considering relationships between the supportive centers in the covering problem is another important future research area. 5. Conclusion In this paper, a case study about nding the locations of some supportive centers with the minimum number and maximum quality of locations in a military logistics system was investigated. The supportive centers should cover all of the predetermined supported centers; in addition, each supported center must be laid in critical distance of only one of the located supportive centers. However, in such cases due to the size, complexity and large number of attributes in the problem, it is solved sequentially, as we did here. In each phase, we xed some of the variables; then we solved another model in which the xed variables were the input data for the next phase. In this paper, we presented a ve-stage procedure that in each stage regarding the situation we used dierent tools and models like MADM, covering, districting, MODM, binary programming and quadratic programming. Solving the problem regarding to various scenarios, studying benets of the method, investigating implementation problems and proposing future works were the last stages of this paper.

Acknowledgments We thank Prof. Ferenc Szidarovszky and Nasim Akbarzadeh for their valuable comments on this work; their suggestions are appreciated. The authors also thank two anonymous referees for their constructive suggestions, which improved the content substantially. The authors are responsible for all results and opinions expressed in this paper.

Aickelin, U., 2003. An indirect genetic algorithm for set covering problem. Journal of the Operations Research Society 53 (10), 1118 1126.

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