Inventory management with log-normal demand per unit time


This paper examines optimal policies in a continuous review inventory management system when demand in each time period follows a log-normal distribution. In this scenario, the distribution for demand during the entire lead time period has no known form. The proposed procedure uses the Fenton-Wilkinson method to estimate the parameters for a single log-normal distribution that approximates the probability density function (PDF) for lead time demand, conditional on a specific lead time. Once these parameters are determined, a mixture of truncated exponentials (MTE) function that approximates the lead time demand distribution is constructed. The objective is to include the log-normal distribution in a robust decision support system where the PDF that best fits the historical period demand data is used to construct the lead time demand distribution. Experimental results indicate that when the log-normal distribution is the best fit, the model presented in this paper reduces expected inventory costs by improving optimal policies, as compared to other potential approximations.

Document Type





continuous review, demand during lead time, inventory, log-normal distribution, mixtures of truncated exponentials

Publication Date


Journal Title

Computers and Operations Research