Cost and fairness

Westvaco produces and sells more than $2 billion worth of paper products each year. It has
developed a spreadsheet based distribution tool to assign truck loads to different motor carriers
daily. The details of Westvaco Company and this distribution tool can be found in the case study
“optimized motor carrier selection at Westvaco” in the textbook (case 5.1 in version 6, case 5.2 in
version 5 and version 3). A copy of the case study can be downloaded as a PDF file if a textbook is
not accessible.
Fairness problem: Westvaco has noticed that the tool is good for finding a low cost distribution plan
but may not be able to maintain fairness among carriers. For example, some carriers may not be
assigned any job for several days in a week which upsets the drivers. Currently the transportation
planner has to allocate commitments manually which is difficult in some situations.
Carrier reduction problem: Westvaco has found it hard to manage too many carriers (six at the
moment). But it is not sure how the reduction of the number of carriers may impact on the
distribution cost and fairness.
1. Investigate how to model and optimise the fairness problem based on the data for one week’s
load which is provided as an EXCEL spreadsheet in this assessment task. Please note that definition
of fairness in your report must be reasonable although “fairness” is quite subjective.