Transportation modeling involves finding the least-cost way of shipping supplies from their sources to various destinations. A linear programming model shows a constraint for supply at every source, as well as demand at each destination. Two types of transportation model include balanced transportation model and unbalanced transportation model. A balanced transportation model involves a condition where the amount supplied equals the amount demanded (Taylor, 2013). On the other hand, unbalanced transportation model creates a problem where the total supply exceeds, or falls below, the total demand. When the total demand surpasses the total supply, clients will not receive their required orders.
All constraints depict an equal sign in a balanced transportation model, as the number of supplies equals the number of demand. For instance, if the number of TV sets in each store is equal to the number of TV sets required by customers in different residential areas, then the constraints are equal. It is quite possible to have multiple optimal solutions when solving transportation problems. This can occur when the opportunity costs result to no positive figures, and the results are one or more zeros.
According to Shenoy (2008), an assignment model is perceived as a special case of transportation model, where the number of sources is equal to the number of destinations. However, an assignment model is different from transportation model in that the quantity assigned from the origin and the demand assigned to each destination is limited to one unit (Taylor, 2013). The nature of managing problems in an assignment model is also different from that of transportation model, as it concerns allocating tasks to individuals, allocating machines to jobs, and dispersing salespersons to sales regions. Contrary, transportation model is usually applied in providing decision-makers with information necessary to balance costs and supply.
Shenoy, G. V. (2008). Linear programming: Methods and applications. New Dehi: New Age International.
Taylor, B. W. (2013). Introduction to management science. New Jersey: Pearson Education.