Operational Research, Inventory, Stochastic Models, Stochastic supply, Value of information


It has been shown in numerous situations that sharing information between the companies leads to improved performance of the supply chain. We study a positive lead time periodic-review inventory system of a retailer facing stochastic demand from his customer and stochastic limited supply capacity of the manufacturer supplying the products to him. The consequence of stochastic supply capacity is that the orders might not be delivered in full, and the exact size of the replenishment might not be known to the retailer. The manufacturer is willing to share the so-called advance supply information (ASI) about the actual replenishment of the retailer's pipeline order with the retailer. ASI is provided at a certain time after the orders have been placed and the retailer can now use this information to decrease the uncertainty of the supply, and thus improve its inventory policy. For this model, we develop a dynamic programming formulation, and characterize the optimal ordering policy as a state-dependent base-stock policy. In addition, we show some properties of the base-stock level. While the optimal policy is highly complex, we obtain some additional insights by comparing it to the state-dependent myopic inventory policy. We conduct the numerical analysis to estimate the in uence of the system parameters on the value of ASI. While we show that the interaction between the parameters is relatively complex, the general insight is that due to increasing marginal returns, the majority of the benets are gained only in the case of full, or close to full, ASI visibility.