End-of-Life Inventory Decisions of Service Parts Defended on Tuesday, 29 November 2011

With the spurt of technology and innovation the life cycles of parts and products have become shorter and service parts enter their final phases earlier. Final phase of a typical service part starts once the part production is ceased and ends when the last service or warranty contract expires. One popular tactic, in practice, to sustain service operations is placing a final order.  The prime challenge of a firm while deciding a final order quantity is to minimize inventory-carrying costs together with the risk of obsolescence at the end of the planning period.

In this study, end-of-life inventory decisions for an array of products including both consumer electronics and capital-intensive products are investigated. For consumer electronics we show that considering an alternative service policy, such as swapping the defective product with a new one, besides a regular repair policy improves cost efficiency.

Moreover, for capital-intensive products we study systems with phase-out returns and systems with customer differentiation in the end-of-life phase. Our analysis reveals that taming the uncertainty associated with phase-out arrivals engenders a remarkable efficiency improvement. Moreover, including rationing decisions in the end-of-life phase enhances the performance of the system by a significant reduction in cost and risk of obsolescence.


end-of-life inventory, service parts, dynamic programming

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