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Managing a Remanufacturing System with Random Yield: Properties, Observations, and Heuristics



We study a remanufacturing system that involves the ordering of a serviceable product and the remanufacturing of multiple types of returned products (cores) into the serviceable product. In addition to random demand for the serviceable product and random returned quantities of different types of cores in each time period, the remanufacturing yield of each type of core is also uncertain. By analyzing a multi-period stochastic dynamic program, we derive several properties of the optimal ordering/remanufacturing policy. In addition to some insights, these properties can be used to reduce the search effort of the optimal policy. We also demonstrate that some existing results derived from related models no longer hold in remanufacturing systems with random yield. Recognizing the optimal ordering/remanufacturing policy is highly complex, we examine three simple heuristics that can be efficiently solved and implemented in practice. Among these three heuristics, our numerical analysis suggests that the heuristic that captures most of the yield uncertainty and future system evolvement as well as some of the properties of the optimal ordering/remanufacturing policy outperforms the other two heuristics.