Sustainable inventory with robust periodic-affine policies and application to medical supply chains

Chaithanya Bandi, Eojin Han, Omid Nohadani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We introduce a new class of adaptive policies called periodic-affine policies, which allows a decision maker to optimally manage and control large-scale newsvendor networks in the presence of uncertain demand without distributional assumptions. These policies are data-driven and model many features of the demand such as correlation and remain robust to parameter misspecification. We present a model that can be generalized to multiproduct settings and extended to multiperiod problems. This is accomplished by modeling the uncertain demand via sets. In this way, it offers a natural framework to study competing policies such as base-stock, affine, and approximative approaches with respect to their profit, sensitivity to parameters and assumptions, and computational scalability. We show that the periodic-affine policies are sustainable—that is, time consistent—because they warrant optimality both within subperiods and over the entire planning horizon. This approach is tractable and free of distributional assumptions, and, hence, suited for real-world applications. We provide efficient algorithms to obtain the optimal periodic-affine policies and demonstrate their advantages on the sales data from one of India’s largest pharmacy retailers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4636-4655
Number of pages20
JournalManagement Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Affine policies
  • Correlation
  • Demand uncertainty
  • Healthcare: pharmacy retailer
  • Newsvendor network
  • Robust optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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