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A location-inventory model with lateral transshipments



We study an infinite horizon periodic stochastic inventory system consisting of retail outlets and customers located on a homogenous line segment. In each period, the total demand, generated by the customers on the line, is normally distributed. To better match supply and demand, we incorporate lateral transshipments. We propose a compact model in which the strategic decisions—the number and locations of retail outlets—are determined simultaneously with the operational decisions—the inventory replenishment and transshipment quantities. We find the optimal balance between the risk-pooling considerations, which drive down the optimal number of retail outlets, and lateral transshipments, which drive up the optimal number of retail outlets. We also explore the sensitivity of the optimal number of retail outlets to various problem parameters. This article presents a novel way of integrating lateral transshipments in the context of an inventory-location model. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Naval Research Logistics, 2011