Inventory Control for Multi-location Rental Systems

Gerlach van der Heide

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

1756 Downloads (Pure)


Rental items can fulfill demand for products that are typically expensive to purchase and required only for a limited period of time. Examples of such products are cars, movies, books, tools, clothing, and jewelry. Complex inventory problems often arise at rental companies, especially at those consisting of multiple locations. For example, companies have to make decisions regarding how many items to store at each location and how to deal with requests for items that are currently rented out to other customers. In such out-of-stock situations it is common practice to ship items from other locations or from a dedicated storage depot. As handling costs related to transportation can be costly, it is important to properly coordinate these shipments as well as the process of repositioning the rental items over the locations.

This thesis presents new methods for controlling inventory and organizing logistical processes for multi-location rental systems that allow shipments of rental items in response to demand. For various common types of rental systems, we focus on optimizing stock levels and decisions for shipments and repositioning. By means of mathematical analyses we derive theoretical properties of optimal policies, and by means of numerical procedures we calculate these optimal policies for rental systems with a limited number of locations. This gives important insights into effective strategies for shipping and repositioning inventory in multi-location rental systems. Based on the insights we propose heuristics that are easy to implement in software packages and that lead to significant improvements over decision rules from practice.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Roodbergen, Kees Jan, Supervisor
  • van Foreest, Nicky, Co-supervisor
Award date1-Feb-2016
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-8438-2
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8437-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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