Knowledge You Can Act On: Optimal Policies for Assembly Systems with Expediting and Advance Demand Information
Operations Research, 64(6) pp. 1338-1371, 2016
34 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2015 Last revised: 14 Oct 2017
Date Written: January 22, 2015
We consider a nonstationary, stochastic, multi-stage supply system with a general assembly structure, in which customers can place orders in advance of their future demand requirements. This advance demand information is now recognized in both theory and practice as an important strategy for managing the mismatch between supply and demand. In conjunction, we allow expediting of components and partially completed subassemblies in the system in order to provide the supply chain with the means to manage the stockout risk and significantly enhance cost savings realized through advance demand information. To solve the resulting assembly system, we develop a new method based on identifying local properties of optimal decisions. This new method allows us to solve assembly systems with multiple product flows. We derive the structure of the optimal policy, which represents a double-tiered echelon basestock policy whose basestock levels depend on the state of advance demand information. This form of the optimal policy allows us to: (i) provide actionable policies for firms to manage large-scale assembly systems with expediting and advance demand information; (ii) prove that advance demand information and expediting of stock both reduce the amount of inventory optimally held in the system; and (iii) numerically solve such assembly systems, and quantify the savings realized. In contrast to the conventional wisdom, we discover that advance demand information and expediting of stock are complementary under short demand information horizons. They are substitutes only under longer information horizons.
Keywords: Multiechelon Inventory; Assembly System; Advance Demand Information; Expediting; Optimal Policy
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