Abstract Efficient milk pick-up routes were developed with the help of a vehicle scheduling model for transportation of milk from the milk shed area to the plant. The data were collected from a composite milk plant purposively selected from North-West India. Monthly transportation route planning was done separately for milk assembling and milk chilling centres. The various conditions and restrictions typically found in India were considered for the routes system. On average, the trucks and tankers taken together were travelling about 1014 km per day in the existing milk pick-up system. The efficient routes formulated reduced the daily travel distance to 954 km, a saving through rationalised routes of about 6% (60 km per day). This showed that the existing route system of the plant, which was also most of the time on a circular path, was reasonably good and could further be improved by efficient route planning.