Stochastic Multi-Item Inventory Systems with Markov-Modulated Demands and Production Quantity Requirements
Probability in the Engineering and Informational Sciences 26, pp. 263-293, 2012.
31 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2015 Last revised: 14 Oct 2017
Date Written: November 1, 2006
We study a multi-item two-stage production system subject to Markov-modulated demands and production quantity requirements. The demand distribution for each item in each period is governed by a discrete Markov chain. The products are manufactured in two stages. In the first stage, a common intermediate product is manufactured, followed by product differentiation in the second stage. Lower and upper production limits, also known as production smoothing constraints, are imposed on both stages for all items. We propose a close-to-optimal heuristic to manage this system. To do so, we develop a lower bound problem and show that a state-dependent, modified base-stock policy is optimal. We also show when and why the heuristic works well. In our numerical study, the average optimality gap was 4.34%. We also establish some monotonicity results for policy parameters with respect to the production environment. Using these results and our numerical observations, we investigate the joint effect of (i) the two-stage production process, (ii) the production flexibility, and (iii) the fluctuating demand environment on the system’s performance. For example, we quantify the value of flexible production as well as the effect of smoothing constraints on the benefits of postponement. We show that a redesign of the production process to allow for delayed product differentiation is more effective and valuable when it is accompanied by an investment in production flexibility.
Keywords: Inventory/Production: multi-item/echelon/stage; Markov-modulated; postponement; production smoothing; capacity
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