Tom Cherrett, Duncan Shingleton, Ben Norton, Fraser McLeod, Camille Forey, Janet Dickinson, Chris Winstanley, Nigel Davies, Chris Speed, Sarah Norgate.

Developing a smartphone app to enhance Oxfam’s supply chain visibility. (Accepted for publication, International Journal of Logistics Research and Applications)


Fraser McLeod, Gunes Erdogan, Tom Cherrett, Tolga Bektas, Nigel Davies, Duncan Shingleton, Chris Speed, Janet Dickinson, Sarah Norgate (2014).

Improving collection efficiency through remote monitoring of charity assets. Waste Management. 34(2), 273-280.


Abstract: Collection costs associated with servicing a major UK charity’s donation banks and collecting unsold goods from their retail shops can account for up to 20% of the overall income gained. Bank and shop collections are commingled and are typically made on fixed days of the week irrespective of the amounts of materials waiting to be collected. Using collection records from a major UK charity, this paper considers what vehicle routing and scheduling benefits could accrue if bank and shop servicing requirements were monitored, the former using remote sensing technology to allow more proactive collection scheduling. A vehicle routing and scheduling algorithm employing tabu search methods was developed, and suggested time and distance savings of up to 30% over the current fixed schedules when a minimum bank and shop fill level of between 50% and 60% was used as a collection trigger. For the case study investigated, this led to a potential revenue gain of 5% for the charity and estimated CO2 savings of around 0.5 tonnes per week across the fleet of six heterogeneous vehicles.

McLeod, F; Cherrett, T (2014).

Using remote monitoring data for collection scheduling. Results from the Oxfam demonstration, ITS (UK) Review, Spring/Summer 2014, pp 49-51.

Gunes Erdogan, Fraser McLeod, Tom Cherrett, Tolga Bektas (2013).

Matheuristics for a Multi-attribute Profit Collecting Vehicle Routing Problem. Journal of the Operational Research Society. Published online 18 Dec 2013 (http://www.palgrave-journals.com/doifinder/10.1057/jors.2013.172)        

Abstract: This paper studies a real-life multi-attribute profit collecting vehicle routing problem, arising in the collection operations of a charity organisation in the United Kingdom. The problem involves a heterogeneous fleet of vehicles of different capacities, mandatory visits to a subset of vertices, time windows, rest requirements associated with maximum driving and working times, and partial collection. A mixed integer programming formulation of the problem is described, along with three matheuristics based on Tabu Search and Large Neighbourhood Search. Computational results on instances derived from the case study are presented, and insights are given from a practical implementation.

Fraser McLeod, Gunes Erdogan, Tom Cherrett, Tolga Bektas, Nigel Davies, Chris Speed, Janet Dickinson and Sarah Norgate (2013).

Dynamic collection scheduling using remote asset monitoring: Case study in the UK charity sector. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2378, pp. 65-72. http://dx.doi.org/10.3141/2378-07

Abstract: Remote sensing technology is now coming onto the market in the waste collection sector. This technology allows waste and recycling receptacles to report their fill levels at regular intervals. This reporting enables collection schedules to be optimized dynamically to meet true servicing needs in a better way and so reduce transport costs and ensure that visits to clients are made in a timely fashion. This paper describes a real-life logistics problem faced by a leading UK charity that services its textile and book donation banks and its high street stores by using a common fleet of vehicles with various carrying capacities. Use of a common fleet gives rise to a vehicle routing problem in which visits to stores are on fixed days of the week with time window constraints and visits to banks (fitted with remote fill-monitoring technology) are made in a timely fashion so that the banks do not become full before collection. A tabu search algorithm was developed to provide vehicle routes for the next day of operation on the basis of the maximization of profit. A longer look-ahead period was not considered because donation rates to banks are highly variable. The algorithm included parameters that specified the minimum fill level (e.g., 50%) required to allow a visit to a bank and a penalty function used to encourage visits to banks that are becoming full. The results showed that the algorithm significantly reduced visits to banks and increased profit by up to 2.4%, with the best performance obtained when the donation rates were more variable.

Fraser McLeod, Gunes Erdogan, Tom Cherrett, Tolga Bektas (2013).

Heuristics for the team orienteering problem with time windows and flexible fleet, VeRoLog 2013, EURO Working Group on Vehicle Routing and Logistic Optimization, 7-10 July 2013, Southampton, UK

Abstract: This paper compares the performance of two alternative solution methods – one employing tabu search, the other large scale neighbourhood search – on a real-life collection problem involving a heterogeneous and flexible fleet servicing charity donation banks and high street shops that operate with time windows. The objective is to maximise profit, where profit is calculated as the estimated value of the goods (e.g., clothes, books) collected minus the associated transport costs. The algorithms led to a profit gain of 5% and estimated CO2 savings of around 1 tonne per week.

Cherrett, T., Shingleton, D., Norton, B., McLeod, F., Forey, C., Dickinson, J., Winstanley, C (2013)

Managing logistics with a Smartphone – developing an app for visualising temporal opportunities in the charity sector. 18th Logistics Research Network Conference 2013, Aston University. 4-6 Sept.

Abstract:This paper describes the background behind, the development and initial evaluation of a Smartphone app, designed to improve the temporal and spatial visibility of assets (delivery/collection vehicles, donation banks, shops and stock) and personnel working in local regions for a major UK charity. Initial findings from the Watford trial which involved a driver servicing 26 shops and 20 banks (21 March to 14 June 2013) revealed that 1778 bags (60L hessian sacks) were collected and logged via the app from 20 banks, with an average observed fill level across the 102 collections of 59%. Mean observed dwell times, varied significantly between sites (F(16,96) = 5.38, p

McLeod, F., Cherrett, T., Shingleton, D., Bektas, T., Speed, C., Davies, N., Dickinson, J., Norgate, S (2012)

Sixth Sense Logistics – Challenges in supporting more flexible, ‘human-centric’ scheduling in the service sector. 17th Logistics Research Network Conference 2012, Cranfield University. 5-7 Sept.

Abstract: This paper explores how service engineer jobs can be dynamically scheduled during the round in response to new job requests received to minimise client waiting time and transport costs (a multi-period dynamic vehicle scheduling problem (Angelelli et al., 2009)). The potential benefits of such an approach are presented along with the challenges of delivering it, with respect to the technology needed to help visualise the engineer’s current and future trajectories in relation to the incoming client calls. The research is being undertaken as part of the RCUK 6th Sense Transport project which is investigating how mobile technologies coupled to social networking principals can be leveraged to provide individuals with different ways to relate to time (present and future) and new understanding of the relationships between their own future transport plans and those of others around them.

Cherrett, T (2012)

6th Sense Transport: Visualizing Logistics Opportunities in Present and Future Time. Digital Futures 2012. The Third Annual Digital Economy All Hands Conference. October 23rd - 25th 2012. Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference centre.

McLeod, F; Cherrett, T (2012)

Using remote monitoring data for dynamically scheduling collections and visualising transport options. Article in ITS (UK) Review Autumn/Winter 2012, pp 28-30.


We understand the extent to which behavioural change in transport habits and practices can be facilitated through the creation of a new form of ‘transport network’, based on extending social tablet.pngnetworking principles to transport users.

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Mobile Apps

The project has developed a suite of mobile phone apps for each of the corresponding research contexts. Watch videos and read details of the projects aims, phone-exploded.pngkey findings and outputs.

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The 6ST team comprised researchers from the universities of Southampton, Edinburgh, Salford, people.pngBournemouth and Lancaster.

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