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Sensitivity analysis for base-stock levels in multiechelon production- inventory systems. (English) Zbl 0832.90051
Summary: Effective management of inventories in large-scale production and distribution systems requires methods for bringing model solutions closer to the complexities of real systems. Motivated by this need, we develop simulation-based methods for estimating sensitivities of inventory costs with respect to policy parameters. These sensitivity estimates are useful in adjusting optimal parameters predicted by a simplified model to complexities that can be incorporated in a simulation.
We consider capacitated, multiechelon systems operating under base-stock policies and develop estimators of derivatives with respect to base-stock levels. We show that these estimates converge to the correct value for finite-horizon and infinite-horizon discounted and average cost criteria. Our methods are easy to implement and experiments suggest that they converge quickly. We illustrate their use by optimizing base-stock levels for a subsystem of the PC assembly and distribution system of a major computer manufacturer.

90B30 Production models
90B05 Inventory, storage, reservoirs
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