A dynamic ordering policy for a stochastic inventory problem with cash constraints

Zhen Chen, Roberto Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper investigates a stochastic inventory management problem in which a cash-constrained small retailer periodically purchases a product and sells it to customers while facing non-stationary demand. In each period, the retailer’s available cash restricts the maximum quantity that can be ordered. There is a fixed ordering cost incurred when an order is issued by the retailer. We introduce a heuristic (s;C(x); S )policy inspired by numerical findings and by a structural analysis. The policy operates as follows: when the initial inventory x is less than s and the initial cash is greater than the state-dependent value C(x),the retailer should order a quantity that brings inventory as close to S as possible; otherwise, the retailer should not order. We first determine the values of the controlling parameters s, C(x) and S via the results of stochastic dynamic programming and test their performance in an extensive computational study. The results show that the (s;C(x); S ) policy performs well, with a maximum optimality gap of less than 1%,and an average gap of approximately 0.03%. We then develop a simple and time-efficient heuristic method for computing policy (s;C(x); S ) by solving a mixed-integer linear programming problem: the average gap for this heuristic is less than 1% on our test bed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102378
Number of pages14
Early online date25 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • stochastic inventory
  • non-stationary demand
  • cash-flow constraint
  • (s;C(x); S ) policy


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