Blood Platelet Production: Optimization by Dynamic Programming and Simulation

R. Haijema, J. van der Wal, N.M. van Dijk

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175 Citations (Scopus)


Blood platelets are precious, as voluntarily supplied by donors, and highly perishable, with limited lifetimes of 5¿7 days. Demand is highly variable and uncertain. A practical production and inventory rule is strived for that minimizes shortages and spill. The demand and production are periodic, as varying over the seven days of the week. Demand for `young¿ platelets (oncology and hematology) and demand for platelets of `any¿ age up to the maximal shelf life (traumatology and general surgery) are distinguished. A combined Markov dynamic programming (MDP) and simulation approach is presented and applied to a real life case of a Dutch blood bank. By down-sizing the dimension and applying this combined approach it is shown that order-up-to type replenishment rules that perform quite well can be found. Particularly, a double-level order-up-to rule, so-called 2D rule, is derived, with one level corresponding to `young¿ platelets and one to the total inventory. This rule is easy to implement and is shown to be `nearly optimal¿. This approach and the double order-up-to rule seem to be new. The results are most suitable for sensitivity analyses such as with respect to shortages and production costs for blood platelet inventory management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-779
JournalComputers and Operations Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • optimal ordering policies
  • perishable-inventory
  • decision processes
  • management
  • model
  • approximations
  • bank


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