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On Properties of Stochastic Inventory Systems

By Yu-Sheng Zheng

Abstract

For most order quantity/reorder point inventory systems, the stochastic model, which specifies the demands as stochastic processes, is often more accurate than its deterministic counterpart---the EOQ model. However, the application of the stochastic model has been limited because of the absence of insightful analytical results on the model. This paper analyzes the stochastic order quantity/reorder point model in comparison with a corresponding deterministic EOQ model. Based on simple optimality conditions for the control variables derived in the paper, a sensitivity analysis is carried out, and a number of basic qualitative properties are established for the optimal control parameters. Our main results include the following: (1) in contrast to the deterministic EOQ model, the controllable costs of the stochastic model due to selection of the order quantity (assuming the reorder point is chosen optimally for every order quantity) are actually smaller, while the total costs are clearly larger; the optimal order quantity is larger, but the difference is relatively small when the quantity is large; the cost performance is even less sensitive to choices of the order quantity; (2) the relative increase of the costs incurred by using the quantity determined by the EOQ instead of the optimal from the stochastic model is no more than 1/8, and vanishes when the ordering costs are significant relative to other costs.inventory/production, sensitivity analysis, stochastic model

DOI identifier: 10.1287/mnsc.38.1.87
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