System-oriented inventory models for spare parts

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Stocks of spare parts, located at appropriate locations, can prevent long downtimes of technical systems that are used in the primary processes of their users. Since such downtimes are typically very expensive, generally system-oriented service measures are used in spare parts inventory control. Examples of such measures are system availability and the expected number of backorders over all spare parts. This is one of the key characteristics that distinguishes such inventory control from other fields of inventory control. In this paper, we survey models for spare parts inventory control under system-oriented service constraints. We link those models to two archetypical types of spare parts networks: networks of users who maintain their own systems, for instance in the military world, and networks of original equipment manufacturers who service the installed base of products that they have sold. We describe the characteristics of these networks and refer back to them throughout the survey. Our aim is to bring structure into the large body of related literature and to refer to the most important papers. We discuss both the single location and multi-echelon models. We further focus on the use of lateral and emergency shipments, and we refer to other extensions and the coupling of spare parts inventory control models to related problems, such as repair shop capacity planning. We conclude with a short discussion of application of these models in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-55
Number of pages21
JournalSurveys in Operations Research and Management Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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