Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

Summer 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Engineering - (Ph.D.)

Department

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

First Advisor

Sanchoy K. Das

Second Advisor

Athanassios K. Bladikas

Third Advisor

Wenbo Cai

Fourth Advisor

Zhiming Ji

Fifth Advisor

Junmin Shi

Abstract

Internet technology is being widely used to transform all aspects of the modern supply chain. Specifically, accelerated product flows and wide spread information sharing across the supply chain have generated new sets of decision problems. This research addresses two such problems. The first focuses on fast fashion supply chains in which inventory and price are managed in real time to maximize retail cycle revenue. The second is concerned with explosive storage policies in Internet Fulfillment Warehouses (IFW).

Fashion products are characterized by short product life cycles and market success uncertainty. An unsuccessful product will often require multiple price discounts to clear the inventory. The first topic proposes a switching solution for fast-fashion retailers who have preordered an initial or block inventory, and plan to use channel switching as opposed to multiple discounting steps. The FFS Multi-Channel Switching (MCS) problem then is to monitor real-time demand and store inventory, such that at the optimal period the remaining store inventory is sold at clearance, and the warehouse inventory is switched to the outlet channel. The objective is to maximize the total revenue. With a linear projection of the moving average demand trend, an estimation of the remaining cycle revenue at any time in the cycle is shown to be a concave function of the switching time. Using a set of conditions the objective is further simplified into cases. The Linear Moving Average Trend (LMAT) heuristic then prescribes whether a channel switch should be made in the next period. The LMAT is compared with the optimal policy and the No-Switch and Beta‑Switch rules. The LMAT performs very well and the majority of test problems provide a solution within 0.4% of the optimal. This confirms that LMAT can readily and effectively be applied to real time decision making in a FFS.

An IFW is a facility built and operated exclusively for online retail, and a key differentiator is the explosive storage policy. Breaking the single stocking location tradition, in an IFW small batches of the same stock keeping unit (SKU) are dispersed across the warehouse. Order fulfillment time performance is then closely related to the storage location decision, that is, for every incoming bulk, what is the specific storage location for each batch. Faster fulfillment is possible when SKUs are clustered such that narrow band picklists can be efficiently generated. Stock location decisions are therefore a function of the demand arrival behavior and correlations with other SKUs. Faster fulfillment is possible when SKUs are clustered such that narrow band picklists can be efficiently generated. Stock location decisions are therefore a function of the demand behavior and correlations with other SKUs. A Joint Item Correlation and Density Oriented (JICDO) Stocking Algorithm is developed and tested. JICDO is formulated to increase the probability that M pick able order items are stocked in a δ band of storage locations. It scans the current inventory dispersion to identify location bands with low SKU density and combines the storage affinity with correlated items. In small problem testing against a MIP formulation and large scale testing in a simulator the JICDO performance is confirmed.

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