• production/distribution;
  • inventory;
  • mixed integer nonlinear programming;
  • heuristics


This study addresses the design of a three-stage production/distribution system where the first stage includes the set of established retailers and the second and third stages include the sets of potential distribution centers (DCs) and potential capacitated suppliers, respectively. In this problem, in addition to the fixed location/operating costs associated with locating DCs and suppliers, we consider the coordinated inventory replenishment decisions at the located DCs and retailers along with the appropriate inventory costs explicitly. In particular, we account for the replenishment and holding costs at the retailers and selected DCs, and the fixed plus distance-based transportation costs between the selected plants and their assigned DCs, and between the selected DCs and their respective retailers, explicitly. The resulting formulation is a challenging mixed-integer nonlinear programming model for which we propose efficient heuristic solution approaches. Our computational results demonstrate the performance of the heuristic approaches as well as the value of integrated decision-making by verifying that significant cost savings are realizable when the inventory decisions and costs are incorporated in the production distribution system design. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Naval Research Logistics 59: 172–195, 2012