Copyright © 2012 David Simchi-Levi and Yao Zhao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Globalization, product proliferation, and fast product innovation have significantly increased
the complexities of supply chains in many industries. One of the most important advancements
of supply chain management in recent years is the development of models and methodologies
for controlling inventory in general supply networks under uncertainty and their widefspread
applications to industry. These developments are based on three generic methods: the queueing-inventory
method, the lead-time demand method and the flow-unit method. In this paper,
we compare and contrast these methods by discussing their strengths and weaknesses, their
differences and connections, and showing how to apply them systematically to characterize
and evaluate various supply networks with different supply processes, inventory policies, and
demand processes. Our objective is to forge links among research strands on different methods
and various network topologies so as to develop unified methodologies.