Computationally efficient optimization of stock pooling and allocation levels for two-demand-classes under general lead time distributions

Oguzhan Vicil*, Peter Jackson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we develop a procedure for estimating service levels (fill rates) and for optimizing stock and threshold levels in a two-demand-class model managed based on a lot-for-lot replenishment policy and a static threshold allocation policy. We assume that the priority demand classes exhibit mutually independent, stationary, Poisson demand processes and non-zero order lead times that are independent and identically distributed. A key feature of the optimization routine is that it requires computation of the stationary distribution only once. There are two approaches extant in the literature for estimating the stationary distribution of the stock level process: a so-called single-cycle approach and an embedded Markov chain approach. Both approaches rely on constant lead times. We propose a third approach based on a Continuous-Time Markov Chain (CTMC) approach, solving it exactly for the case of exponentially distributed lead times. We prove that if the independence assumption of the embedded Markov chain approach is true, then the CTMC approach is exact for general lead time distributions as well. We evaluate all three approaches for a spectrum of lead time distributions and conclude that, although the independence assumption does not hold, both the CTMC and embedded Markov chain approaches perform well, dominating the single-cycle approach. The advantages of the CTMC approach are that it is several orders of magnitude less computationally complex than the embedded Markov chain approach and it can be extended in a straightforward fashion to three demand classes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-974
Number of pages20
JournalIIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2016


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