Equivalent Alternate Solutions for the Tour Scheduling Problem

Fred F. Easton, Donald F. Rossin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Achieving minimum staffing costs, maximum employee satisfaction with their assigned schedules, and acceptable levels of service are important but potentially conflicting objectives when scheduling service employees. Existing employee scheduling models, such as tour scheduling or general employee scheduling, address at most two of these criteria. This paper describes a heuristic to improve tour scheduling solutions provided by other procedures, and generate a set of equivalent cost feasible alternatives. These alternatives allow managers to identify solutions with attractive secondary characteristics, such as overall employee satisfaction with their assigned tours or consistent employee workloads and customer response times. Tests with both full‐time and mixed work force problems reveal the method improves most nonoptimal initial heuristic solutions. Many of the alternatives generated had more even distributions of surplus staff than the initial solutions, yielding more consistent customer response times and employee workloads. The likelihood of satisfying employee scheduling preferences may also be increased since each alternative provides a different deployment of employees among the available schedules. 1991 Decision Sciences Institute

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)985-1007
Number of pages23
JournalDecision Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991


  • Heuristics
  • Mathematical Programming
  • Scheduling
  • Service Operations Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'Equivalent Alternate Solutions for the Tour Scheduling Problem'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this