We study the 'Creation of Pooling in Inventory and Queueing Models'. This research consists of the study of sharing a scarce resource (such as inventory, server capacity, or production capacity) between multiple customer classes. This is called pooling, where the goal is to achieve cost or waiting time reductions. For the inventory and queueing models studied, both theoretical, scientific insights are generated, as well as strategies which are applicable in practice.
This monograph consists of two parts: pooling and polling . In the first part, pooling is applied to multi-location inventory models. It is studied how cost reduction can be achieved by the use of stock transfers between local warehouses, so-called lateral transshipments. In this way, stock is pooled between the warehouses. The setting is motivated by a spare parts inventory network, where critical components of technically advanced machines are kept on stock, to reduce down time durations. We create insights into the question when lateral transshipments lead to cost reductions, by studying several models.
Firstly, a system with two stock points is studied, for which we completely characterize the structure of the optimal policy, using dynamic programming. For this, we formulate the model as a Markov decision process. We also derived conditions under which simple, easy to implement, policies are always optimal, such as a hold back policy and a complete pooling policy. Furthermore, we identified the parameter settings under which cost savings can be achieved. Secondly, we characterize the optimal policy structure for a multi-location model where only one stock point issues lateral transshipments, a so-called quick response warehouse. Thirdly, we apply the insights generated to the general multi-location model with lateral transshipments. We propose the use of a hold back policy, and construct a new approximation algorithm for deriving the performance characteristics. It is based on the use of interrupted Poisson processes. The algorithm is shown to be very accurate, and can be used for the optimization of the hold back levels, the parameters of this class of policies. Also, we study related inventory models, where a single stock point servers multiple customers classes.
Furthermore, in the first part, the pooling of server capacity is studied. For a two queue model where the head-of-line processor sharing discipline is applied, we derive the optimal control policy for dividing the servers attention, as well as for accepting customers. Also, a server farm with an infinite number of servers is studied, where servers can be turned off after a service completion in order to save costs. We characterize the optimal policy for this model.
In the second part of the thesis, polling models are studied, which are queueing systems where multiple queues are served by a single server. An application is the production of multiple types of products on a single machine. In this way, the production capacity is pooled between the product types. For the classical polling model, we derive a closed-form approximation for the mean waiting time at each of the queues. The approximation is based on the interpolation of light and heavy traffic results. Also, we study a system with so-called smart customers, where the arrival rate at a queue depends on the position of the server. Finally, we invent two new service disciplines (the gated/exhaustive and the k-gated discipline) for polling models, designed to yield 'fairness and efficiency' in the mean waiting times. That is, they result in almost equal mean waiting times at each of the queues, without increasing the weighted sum of the mean waiting times too much.