Allocation of Returned Products among Different Recovery Options through an Opportunity Cost-Based Dynamic Approach

Ozdemir-Akyildirim Ö., Denizel M., Ferguson M.

DECISION SCIENCES, vol.45, no.6, pp.1083-1116, 2014 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/deci.12100
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1083-1116
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


In a make-to-order product recovery environment, we consider the allocation decision for returned products decision under stochastic demand of a firm with three options: refurbishing to resell, parts harvesting, and recycling. We formulate the problem as a multiperiod Markov decision process (MDP) and present a linear programming (LP) approximation that provides an upper bound on the optimal objective function value of the MDP model. We then present two solution approaches to the MDP using the LP solution: a static approach that uses the LP solution directly and a dynamic approach that adopts a revenue management perspective and employs bid-price controls technique where the LP is resolved after each demand arrival. We calculate the bid prices based on the shadow price interpretation of the dual variables for the inventory constraints and accept a demand if the marginal value is higher than the bid price. Since the need for solving the LP at each demand arrival requires a very efficient solution procedure, we present a transportation problem formulation of the LP via variable redefinitions and develop a one-pass optimal solution procedure for it. We carry out an extensive numerical analysis to compare the two approaches and find that the dynamic approach provides better performance in all of the tested scenarios. Furthermore, the solutions obtained are within 2% of the upper bound on the optimal objective function value of the MDP model.