Supply chain, Optimal inventory management, Model predictive control, Min-Max optimization.
The research activity concerns the optimal inventory control problem for multi-stage supply chains with uncertain dynamics. The two sources of uncertainty are about the perishability factor of stocked goods and the customer forecast information. The control problem consists in defining a replenishment policy keeping the inventory level as close as possible to a desired value and mitigating the bullwhip effect. The problem is here solved through a distributed robust model predictive control approach. This implies solving a set of constrained min-max optimization problems with hard constraints on the control effort (i.e. the sequence of replenishment orders). To drastically reduce the numerical complexity of this problem, the control signal is sought in the space of B-spline functions, which are known to be universal approximators admitting a parsimonious parametric representation.