Managing Perishable Inventory Systems as Non-perishable Ones

      Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management
                             The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Date: 4:30pm to 5:30pm, Mar. 17, 2017 (Friday)
Title: Managing Perishable Inventory Systems as Non-perishable Ones
Speaker: Jiheng Zhang, Department of Industrial Engineering and Logistic Management, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The classic perishable inventory problem has a long history and is known to be difficult to optimize due to the curse of dimensionality. In this paper, we approach the problem from a different angle by exploring its asymptotic behavior. We first show that the perishable inventory system can be managed in a similar way to a non-perishable one asymptotically when the system is large enough and clearance of inventory before expiration, if any, will only occur at the beginning of the planning horizon. With this insight, we then develop several heuristic policies that are much simpler than any of the existing ones for the original problem, and establish theoretical error bounds that not only vanish asymptotically but also provide lower bounds on the system size to guarantee any given desired error rate. Numerical studies show that these simple policies perform well for systems of a realistic size. The practical management of complex perishable inventory systems can therefore be significantly simplified with these policies.
Jiheng Zhang is an associate professor in the department of Industrial Engineering and Logistic Management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He received his Ph.D. degree in operations research from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009. He also holds an M.S. in mathematics from Ohio State University and a B.S. in mathematics from Nanjing University. His current research interests focus on applied probability, machine learning and stochastic optimization.
This seminar is hosted by Prof. Xuefeng Gao.
Everyone is welcome to attend the talk!
Venue: Room 513,
      William M.W. Mong Engineering Building (ERB),
      The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
SEEM-5202 Website:
Friday, March 17, 2017 - 08:30 to 09:30