Potential and challenges in home care service process optimization : a route optimization approach
Published inJyväskylä studies in computing
Aging of the population is an increasing problem in many countries, including Finland, and it poses a challenge to public services such as home care. Vehicle routing optimization (VRP) type optimization solutions are one possible way to decrease the time required for planning home visits and driving to customer addresses, as well as decreasing transportation costs. Although VRP optimization is widely and succesfully applied to commercial and industrial logistics, the home care is a relatively new application area for it. This thesis examines what kind of distance and time savings would be possible to achieve if daily home care operations are optimized in the similar manner as typical VRP optimization cases. In order to plan the optimization cases, a detailed analysis of the target organization (Home Care of the City of Jyväskylä in Finland) is conducted. The optimization results and other ﬁndings are compared to the experiences of 98 Finnish home care organizations (all organizations in Finnish municipalities with at least ten thousand inhabitants) that answered a detailed survey concerning home care optimization. Both the optimization experiments and the answers by the home care organizations support the conclusion that operational home care work is difﬁcult to optimize by typical route optimization solutios as it is fully customer oriented work and the schedules of the home care staff change continuously as the needs of the customers change. This often breaks the detailed schedules created by optimization. Despite the perceived incompleteness of many the currently available home care route optimization solutions, most organizations that answered the survey had a positive outlook of the research and future development of new solutions. Also some possible methods that could be incorporated into home care optimization to improve it are discussed. ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
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