Publication Details

Quan Spring Zhou, Tava Lennon Olsen, Inventory rotation of medical supplies for emergency response, European Journal of Operational Research, Volume 257, Issue 3, 2017, Pages 810-821.


We investigate an inventory control system for a national medical reserve to rotate its long-life perishable product to a hospital. This work is motivated by the serious expiration problem existing in reserves prepared for emergency response. We explicitly consider the perishability of a long-life product, such as latex gloves, and study the joint rotation and ordering decisions. The optimal policy is characterised by two thresholds, and the whole shelf life horizon can be divided into two phases: non-rotation and then rotation after a critical period. We characterise the monotonicity of the order-up-to levels. We find that the optimal policy structure preserves well when extended to scenarios with a capacity constraint and multiple planning horizons. This system possesses an easy-to-implement optimal policy structure, and moreover, implies that we should not always ignore the perishability of long-life products.



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