Inventory management with advance capacity information



An important aspect of supply chain management is dealing with demand and supply uncertainty. The uncertainty of future supply can be reduced if a company is able to obtain advance capacity information (ACI) about future supply/production capacity availability from its supplier. We address a periodic-review inventory system under stochastic demand and stochastic limited supply, for which ACI is available. We show that the optimal ordering policy is a state-dependent base-stock policy characterized by a base-stock level that is a function of ACI. We establish a link with inventory models that use advance demand information (ADI) by developing a capacitated inventory system with ADI, and we show that equivalence can only be set under a very specific and restrictive assumption, implying that ADI insights will not necessarily hold in the ACI environment. Our numerical results reveal several managerial insights. In particular, we show that ACI is most beneficial when there is sufficient flexibility to react to anticipated demand and supply capacity mismatches. Further, most of the benefits can be achieved with only limited future visibility. We also show that the system parameters affecting the value of ACI interact in a complex way and therefore need to be considered in an integrated manner. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Naval Research Logistics, 2011