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Multi-echelon Inventory optimization under supply and demand uncertainty

Abstract : Supply Chain Management (SCM) is an important part of most companies and applying the appropriate strategy is essential for managers in competitive industries and markets. In this context, Inventory Management plays a crucial role. Different inventory systems are widely used in practice. However, it is fundamentally difficult to optimize, especially in multi-echelon networks. A key challenge in managing inventory is dealing with uncertainties in supply and demand. The simultaneous decrease of customer service and increase of inventory-related costs are the most significant effects of such uncertainties. To deal with this pattern, supply chain managers need to establish more effective and more flexible sourcing and distribution strategies. In this thesis, a “framework to optimize inventory decisions in multi-echelon distribution networks under supply and demand uncertainty” is proposed. In the first part of the research work, multi-echelon distribution systems, subject to demand uncertainty, are studied. Such distribution systems are one of the most challenging inventory network topologies to analyze. The optimal inventory and sourcing policies for these systems are not yet unknown. We consider a basic type of distribution network with a single family product through a periodic review setting. Based on this property, a two-stage mixed integer programming approach is proposed to find the optimal inventory-related decisions considering the non-stationary demand pattern. The model, which is based on a Distribution Requirements Planning (DRP) approach, minimizes the expected total cost composed of the fixed allocation, inventory holding, procurement, transportation, and back-ordering costs. Alternative inventory optimization models, including the lateral transshipment strategy and multiple sourcing, are thus built, and the corresponding stochastic programs are solved using the sample average approximation method. Several problem instances are generated to validate the applicability of the model and to evaluate the benefit of lateral transshipments and multiple sourcing in reducing the expected total costs of the distribution network. An empirical investigation is also conducted to validate the numerical findings by using the case of a major French retailer’s distribution network. The second part of the research work is focused on the structure of the optimal inventory policy which is investigated under supply disruptions. A two-stage stochastic model is proposed to solve a capacitated multi-echelon inventory optimization problem considering a stochastic demand as well as uncertain throughput capacity and possible inventory losses, due to disruptions. The model minimizes the total cost, composed of fixed allocation cost, inventory holding, transportation and backordering costs by optimizing inventory policy and flow decisions. The inventory is controlled according to a reorder point order-up-to-level (s, S) policy. In order to deal with the uncertainties, several scenario samples are generated by Monte Carlo method. Corresponding sample average approximations programs are solved to obtain the adequate response policy to the inventory system under disruptions. In addition, extensive numerical experiments are conducted. The results enable insights to be gained into the impact of disruptions on the network total cost and service level. In both parts of the research, insights are offered which could be valuable for practitioners. Further research possibilities are also provided.
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Mehdi Firoozi. Multi-echelon Inventory optimization under supply and demand uncertainty. Automatic Control Engineering. Université de Bordeaux, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018BORD0289⟩. ⟨tel-02129713⟩

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