In most multi-item inventory systems, the ordering costs consist of a major cost and a minor cost for each item included. Applying for every individual item a cyclic inventory policy, where the cycle length is a multiple of some basic cycle time, reduces the major ordering costs. An efficient algorithm to determine the optimal policy of this type is discussed in this paper. It is shown that this algorithm can be used for deterministic multi-item inventory problems, with general cost rate functions and possibly service level constraints, of which the well-known joint replenishment problem is a special case. Some useful results in determining the optimal control parameters are derived, and worked out for piecewise linear cost rate functions. Numerical results for this case show that the algorithm significantly outperforms other solution methods, both in the quality of the solution and in the running time.

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European Journal of Operational Research
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Frenk, H., Kleijn, M., & Dekker, R. (1999). An efficient algorithm for a generalized joint replenishment problem. European Journal of Operational Research, 118(2), 413–428. doi:10.1016/S0377-2217(98)00322-1