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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Industrial Engineering & Operations Research

Degree Type

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (M.S.I.E.O.R.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Modern manufacturing systems dealing with complex assemblies with large numbers of parts present particular challenges in the realm of supply chain management. Complex assemblies, such as those found in aerospace and automobile manufacturing, require thousands of parts to come together at the right time for final assembly. The large number of parts, often coming from hundreds of suppliers, combined with unreliable delivery times and high cost of many of these components can lead to incredibly high inventory costs and assembly delays. Typically, variable delays in part delivery are compensated for by either keeping a buffer of safety stock or a time buffer on the planned lead time of a component. In this thesis, we study the performance of various buffering strategies across a large range of practical scenarios in an effort to identify dominant, robust strategies and how their performance is impacted by the various parameters that define the system. The major conclusion is that aggressive part buffering consistently results in not only better delivery performance but also significant inventory reduction across all settings for assemblies with more than 500 parts.


First Advisor

Ana Muriel

Second Advisor

Hari Balasubramanian

Third Advisor

Senay Solak

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.