Hodge, D J and Glazebrook, K D (2011) Dynamic resource allocation in a multi-product make-to-stock production system. Queueing Systems, 67 (4). pp. 333-364. ISSN 0257-0130
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We consider optimal policies for a production facility in which several (K) products are made to stock in order to satisfy exogenous demand for each. The single machine version of this problem in which the facility manufactures at most one product at a time to minimise inventory costs has been much studied. We achieve a major generalisation by formulating the production problem as one involving dynamic allocation of a key resource which drives the manufacture of all products under an assumption that each additional unit of resource allocated to a product achieves a diminishing return of increased production rate. A Lagrangian relaxation of the production problem induces a decomposition into K single product problems in which the production rate may be varied but is subject to charge. These reduced problems are of interest in their own right. Under mild conditions of full indexability the Lagrangian relaxation is solved by a production policy with simple index-like structure. This in turn suggests a natural index heuristic for the original production problem which performs strongly in a numerical study. The paper discusses the importance of full indexability and makes proposals for the construction of production policies involving resource idling when it fails.
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