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A Multi-Item Approach to Repairable Stocking and Expediting in a Fluctuating Demand Environment
We consider a single inventory location where multiple types of repairable spare parts are kept for service and maintenance of several different fleets of assets. Demand for each part is a Markov modulated Poisson process (MMPP). Each fleet has a target for the maximum expected number of assets down for lack of a spare part. The inventory manager can meet this target by stocking repairables and by expediting the repair of parts. Expedited repairs have a shorter lead time. There are multiple repair shops (or departments) that handle the repair of parts and the load imposed on repair shops by expedited repairs is constrained. A dual-index policy makes stocking and expediting decisions that depend on demand fluctuations for each spare part type. We formulate the above problem as a non-linear non-convex integer programming problem and provide an algorithm based on column generation to compute feasible near optimal solutions and tight lower bounds. We show how to use the MMPP to model demand fluctuations in maintenance and other settings, including a moment fitting algorithm. We quantify the value of lead time flexibility and show that effective use of this flexibility can yield cost reductions of around 25%.