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Inventory management of perishable items in long-term humanitarian operations using Markov Decision Processes

Inventory management of perishable items in long-term humanitarian operations using Markov Decision Processes
Inventory management of perishable items in long-term humanitarian operations using Markov Decision Processes

Humanitarian organizations often rely on donations of goods to keep their operations running for a long period. However, the donation of perishable goods, such as food and medicine, is a great challenge for logistic managers of such organizations, since deteriorated items may impose a threat to the population, if used incorrectly, and a huge cost for humanitarian operations, due the difficulties underlying their disposal policies. This paper aims at developing a decision making model for inventory management of perishable goods for long term humanitarian operations, using Markov Decision Process. Our model allows managers to ensure that the goods in the inventory are proper for consumption without necessarily keeping track of individual expiration dates for each item in the inventory. To illustrate the approach, we propose experiments to demonstrate how different shelf lives can affect the optimal ordering policies of critical perishable goods, such as blood packs or medicine, in humanitarian operations.

Humanitarian logistics, Long term humanitarian operations, Markov decision processes, Optimization
2212-4209
460-469
Ferreira, Guilherme O.
030a3298-61f1-409c-9326-69631b0a6f96
Arruda, Edilson F.
8eb3bd83-e883-4bf3-bfbc-7887c5daa911
Marujo, Lino G.
6179c7ff-0187-40b6-b04a-e2cff32580f5
Ferreira, Guilherme O.
030a3298-61f1-409c-9326-69631b0a6f96
Arruda, Edilson F.
8eb3bd83-e883-4bf3-bfbc-7887c5daa911
Marujo, Lino G.
6179c7ff-0187-40b6-b04a-e2cff32580f5

Ferreira, Guilherme O., Arruda, Edilson F. and Marujo, Lino G. (2018) Inventory management of perishable items in long-term humanitarian operations using Markov Decision Processes. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 31, 460-469. (doi:10.1016/j.ijdrr.2018.05.010).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Humanitarian organizations often rely on donations of goods to keep their operations running for a long period. However, the donation of perishable goods, such as food and medicine, is a great challenge for logistic managers of such organizations, since deteriorated items may impose a threat to the population, if used incorrectly, and a huge cost for humanitarian operations, due the difficulties underlying their disposal policies. This paper aims at developing a decision making model for inventory management of perishable goods for long term humanitarian operations, using Markov Decision Process. Our model allows managers to ensure that the goods in the inventory are proper for consumption without necessarily keeping track of individual expiration dates for each item in the inventory. To illustrate the approach, we propose experiments to demonstrate how different shelf lives can affect the optimal ordering policies of critical perishable goods, such as blood packs or medicine, in humanitarian operations.

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More information

Published date: October 2018
Keywords: Humanitarian logistics, Long term humanitarian operations, Markov decision processes, Optimization

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 447654
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/447654
ISSN: 2212-4209
PURE UUID: b4473050-3a81-4f96-8cf6-2712549245b9
ORCID for Edilson F. Arruda: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9835-352X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 Mar 2021 17:39
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 04:11

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Contributors

Author: Guilherme O. Ferreira
Author: Lino G. Marujo

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