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Title: A fuzzy approach to inventory replenishment systems
Author: Cuthbertson, Richard William
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 413X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2001
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Current business trends affecting inventory replenishment, such as Just-In-Time and Efficient Consumer Response, often aim to reduce inventories to a minimum. On the other hand, the commercial emphasis on good customer service may make it important to keep inventories as high as possible. The tension between these two conflicting objectives makes the decision of how much inventory to hold ambiguous. In practice, inventory managers remove this ambiguity by stating clear assumptions upon which inventory replenishment systems base their calculations. For example, managers may input the desired level of customer service, measured as a simple percentage of out-of-stocks. Therefore, the conventional, precise mathematics of current inventory systems does not reflect the ambiguous nature of inventory replenishment, but rather manages around it. This thesis develops a new type of inventory replenishment system that better reflects this reality. The thesis begins by identifying, through an historical analysis, the major conventional approaches to inventory replenishment. These approaches are then evaluated and their strengths and weaknesses identified. This evaluation concludes that a heuristic approach to inventory replenishment that can cope with the competing objectives of cost and customer service may prove beneficial. Such an approach may be based on fuzzy logic. Hence, a simple fuzzy-based inventory replenishment system is developed and its performance analysed through simulation against a simple, conventional system. The fuzzy-based inventory replenishment system developed achieves higher customer service for the same cost, as well as providing other practical benefits, such as more stable stock levels and order sizes. This opens up a potentially rich area for inventory research and practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available