Balancing Responsiveness and Economics in Process Supply Chain Design with Multi-Echelon Stochastic Inventory
This paper is concerned with the optimal design of multi-echelon process supply chains (PSCs) under economic and responsive criteria with considerations of inventory management and demand uncertainty. The multi-echelon stochastic inventory systems are modeled with the guaranteed service approach and the maximum guaranteed service time of the last echelon of the PSC is proposed as a measure of a PSC’s responsiveness. We compare the proposed measure with the expected lead time, and formulate a bi-criterion mixed-integer nonlinear program (MINLP) with the objectives of minimizing the annualized cost (economic objective) and minimizing the maximum guaranteed service times of the markets (responsiveness objective) for the optimal design of responsive process supply chains with inventories. The model simultaneously predicts the optimal network structure, transportation amounts and inventory levels under different specifications of the PSC responsiveness. An example on acetic acid supply chain is presented to illustrate the application of the proposed model and to comprehensively compare different measures of PSC responsiveness.