Closed loop two-echelon repairable item systems

L. Spanjers, J.C.W. van Ommeren, W.H.M. Zijm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper we consider closed loop two-echelon repairable item systems with repair facilities both at a number of local service centers (called bases) and at a central location (the depot). The goal of the system is to maintain a number of production facilities (one at each base) in optimal operational condition. Each production facility consists of a number of identical machines which may fail incidentally. Each repair facility may be considered to be a multi-server station, while any transport from the depot to the bases is modeled as an ample server. At all bases as well as at the depot, ready-for-use spare parts (machines) are kept in stock. Once a machine in the production cell of a certain base fails, it is replaced by a ready-for-use machine from that bases stock, if available. The failed machine is either repaired at the base or repaired at the central repair facility. In the case of local repair, the machine is added to the local spare parts stock as a ready-for-use machine after repair. If a repair at the depot is needed, the base orders a machine from the central spare parts stock to replenish its local stock, while the failed machine is added to the central stock after repair. Orders are satisfied on a first-come-first-served basis while any requirement that cannot be satisfied immediately either at the bases or at the depot is backlogged. In case of a backlog at a certain base, that bases production cell performs worse. To determine the steady state probabilities of the system, we develop a slightly aggregated system model and propose a special near-product-form solution that provides excellent approximations of relevant performance measures. The depot repair shop is modeled as a server with state-dependent service rates, of which the parameters follow from an application of Nortons theorem for Closed Queuing Networks. A special adaptation to a general Multi-Class Marginal Distribution Analysis (MDA) algorithm is proposed, on which the approximations are based. All relevant performance measures can be calculated with errors which are generally less than one percent, when compared to simulation results. The approximations are used to find the stock levels which maximize the availibility given a fixed configuration of machines and servers and a certain budget for storing items.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-398
Number of pages30
JournalOR Spectrum = OR Spektrum
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Closed queueing networks
  • Multi-echelon systems
  • Repairable items
  • Spare parts inventory
  • Near-product form solutions


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