IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

94%-Effective Policies for a Two-Stage Serial Inventory System with Stochastic Demand


  • Fangruo Chen

    (Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027)


A two-stage inventory system is considered where Poisson demand occurs at Stage 1, and Stage 1 replenishes its inventory from Stage 2, which in turn orders from an outside supplier with unlimited stock. Each shipment, either to Stage 2 or to Stage 1, incurs a fixed setup cost. Under the assumption that the supply leadtime at Stage 2 is zero, we characterize a simple heuristic policy whose long-run average cost is guaranteed to be within 6% of optimality, i.e., a 94%-effective policy. The paper also provides heuristic policies for more general inventory systems and reports computational results.

Suggested Citation

  • Fangruo Chen, 1999. "94%-Effective Policies for a Two-Stage Serial Inventory System with Stochastic Demand," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(12), pages 1679-1696, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:12:p:1679-1696

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fangruo Chen & Yu-Sheng Zheng, 1994. "Lower Bounds for Multi-Echelon Stochastic Inventory Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(11), pages 1426-1443, November.
    2. Andrew J. Clark & Herbert Scarf, 2004. "Optimal Policies for a Multi-Echelon Inventory Problem," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(12_supple), pages 1782-1790, December.
    3. Marc A. De Bodt & Stephen C. Graves, 1985. "Continuous-Review Policies for a Multi-Echelon Inventory Problem with Stochastic Demand," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(10), pages 1286-1299, October.
    4. Paul Zipkin, 1986. "Inventory Service-Level Measures: Convexity and Approximation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(8), pages 975-981, August.
    5. Antony Svoronos & Paul Zipkin, 1991. "Evaluation of One-for-One Replenishment Policies for Multiechelon Inventory Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(1), pages 68-83, January.
    6. Fangruo Chen & Yu-Sheng Zheng, 1994. "Evaluating Echelon Stock (R, nQ) Policies in Serial Production/Inventory Systems with Stochastic Demand," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(10), pages 1262-1275, October.
    7. Yu-Sheng Zheng, 1992. "On Properties of Stochastic Inventory Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 38(1), pages 87-103, January.
    8. Kamran Moinzadeh & Hau L. Lee, 1986. "Batch Size and Stocking Levels in Multi-Echelon Repairable Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(12), pages 1567-1581, December.
    9. Peter L. Jackson, 1988. "Stock Allocation in a Two-Echelon Distribution System Or "What to Do Until Your Ship Comes In"," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(7), pages 880-895, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Yang, Lei & Yang, Jian & Yu, Gang & Zhang, Hanqin, 2011. "Near-optimal (r,Q) policies for a two-stage serial inventory system with Poisson demand," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(2), pages 728-735, October.
    2. Li, Xiuhui & Wang, Qinan, 2007. "Coordination mechanisms of supply chain systems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 179(1), pages 1-16, May.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:12:p:1679-1696. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.