Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Industrial Engineering

First Adviser

Snyder, Lawrence V.

Other advisers/committee members

DeCroix, Gregory; Kishore, Shalinee; Scheinberg, Katya


Inventory management is a fudamental problem in supply chain management. It is widely used in practice, but it is also intrinsically hard to optimize, even for relatively simple inventory system structures. This challenge has also been heightened under the threat of supply disruptions. Whenever a supply source is disrupted, the inventory system is paralyzed, and tremenduous costs can occur as a consequence. Designing a reliable and robust inventory system that can withstand supply disruptions is vital for an inventory system's performance.First we consider a basic type of inventory network, an assembly system, which produces a single end product from one or several components. A property called long-run balance allows an assembly system to be reduced to a serial system when disruptions are not present. We show that a modified version is still true under disruption risk. Based on this property, we propose a method for reducing the system into a serial system with extra inventory at certain stages that face supply disruptions. We also propose a heuristic for solving the reduced system. A numerical study shows that this heuristic performs very well, yielding significant cost savings when compared with the best-known algorithm.Next we study another basic inventory network structure, a distribution system. We study continuous-review, multi-echelon distribution systems subject to supply disruptions, with Poisson customer demands under a first-come, first-served allocation policy. We develop a recursive optimization heuristic, which applies a bottom-up approach that sequentially approximates the base-stock levels of all the locations. Our numerical study shows that it performs very well.Finally we consider a problem related to smart grids, an area where supply and demand are still decisive factors. Instead of matching supply with demand, as in the first two parts of the dissertation, now we concentrate on the interaction between supply and demand. We consider an electricity service provider that wishes to set prices for a large customer (user or aggregator) with flexible loads so that the resulting load profile matches a predetermined profile as closely as possible. We model the deterministic demand case as a bilevel problem in which the service provider sets price coefficients and the customer responds by shifting loads forward in time. We derive optimality conditions for the lower-level problem to obtain a single-level problem that can be solved efficiently. For the stochastic-demand case, we approximate the consumer's best response function and use this approximation to calculate the service provider's optimal strategy. Our numerical study shows the tractability of the new models for both the deterministic and stochastic cases, and that our pricing scheme is very effective for the service provider to shape consumer demand.

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