University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 12.11.2016 M.Sc Pentti Nakari (Faculty of Information Technology, Information Technology)

Start date: Nov 12, 2016 12:00 PM

End date: Nov 12, 2016 03:00 PM

Location: Mattilanniemi, Agora, Delta -sali

M.Sc. Pentti Nakari defends his doctoral dissertation in Information Technology ”Potential and Challenges in Home Care Service Process Optimization — A Route Optimization Approach". Opponent Senior Lecturer, Adjunct Professor Erkki Laitinen (University of Oulu) and custos Professor Pekka Neittaanmäki (University of Jyväskylä).


Aging of the population is an increasing problem in 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 applied to commercial and industrial logistics, the home care is a relatively new application area for it. This study examines what kind of distance and time savings would be possible to achieve by route optimization in home care operations. In order to plan the optimization cases, a detailed analysis of the target home care organization in the City of Jyväskylä is conducted. The optimization results and other findings are compared to the experiences of 98 Finnish home care organizations (all organizations in Finland that serve areas with at least 10,000 inhabitants) that answered a survey concerning home care optimization. Both the optimization experiments and the answers support the conclusion that operational home care work is difficult to handle by typical route optimization solutions. The home care work is customer oriented, contains many constraints, and the schedules of the home care staff may change suddenly when unexpected events happen. This often breaks the detailed schedules created by optimization. Although many organizations reported difficulties with optimization systems, most organizations that answered the survey had a positive outlook concerning the research and development of optimization systems for home care.

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Pentti Nakari