Multi-Echelon Models for Repairable Items: A Review
Fu, Michael C.
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We review multi-echelon inventory models for repairable items. Such models have been widely applied to the management of critical spare parts for military equipment for around three decades, but the application to manufacturing and service industries seems to be much less documented. We feel that the appropriate use of models in the management of spare parts for heavily utilized equipment in industry can result in significant cost savings, in particular in those settings where repair facilities are resource constrained. In our review, we provide a strategic framework for making these decisions, place the modeling problem in the broader context of inventory control, and review the prominent models in the literature under a unified setting, highlighting some key relationships. We concentrate on describing those models which we feel are most applicable for practical application, revisiting in detail the Multi-Echelon Technique for Recoverable Item Control (METRIC) model and its variations, and then discussing a variety of more general queueing models. We then discuss the components which we feel must be addressed in the models in order to apply them practically to industrial settings.