An approximate dynamic-programming approach to the joint replenishment problem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The main contribution of this paper is to propose a new dynamic-programming approach that .-approximates the joint replenishment problem, with stationary demands and holding costs, in its discrete-time finite-horizon setting. Our first and foremost objective is to show that the computation time of classical dynamic-programming algorithms can be improved on by orders of magnitude when one is willing to lose an .-factor in optimality. Based on synthesizing ideas such as commodity aggregation, approximate dynamic programming, and a few guessing tricks, we show that one can attain any required degree of accuracy in near-polynomial time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-444
Number of pages13
JournalMathematics of Operations Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Approximation algorithms
  • Dynamic programming
  • Joint replenishment problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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