Identification and Classification of Intermittent Demand Patterns
International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, Vol. 6, Issue 3, 304-317, 2016
Posted: 5 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 3, 2016
Intermittent demand is often defined as random demand with a large proportion of zero values (Silver, 1981). However, the terms ‘intermittent demand’, ‘lumpy demand’, and ‘erratic demand’ are used interchangeably in the literature. There is also a widely held misconception that low demand items are, by definition, intermittent in nature. In this paper, we show that the term intermittent demand includes at least three distinct sub-groups of demand patterns that we call lumpy, limited, and erratic. We define the three distinct demand patterns and provide a step-by-step method for classifying items as members of each demand pattern. We provide examples of each demand pattern using inventory data from the U.S. Navy. Finally, we discuss some preliminary strategies for dealing with each distinct demand pattern.
Keywords: intermittent demand, lumpy demand, erratic demand, limited demand, moving average
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation