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Evaluating alternative estimators for optimal order quantities in the newsvendor model with skewed demand

Halkos, George and Kevork, Ilias (2012): Evaluating alternative estimators for optimal order quantities in the newsvendor model with skewed demand.

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Abstract

This paper considers the classical Newsvendor model, also known as the Newsboy problem, with the demand to be fully observed and to follow in successive inventory cycles one of the Exponential, Rayleigh, and Log-Normal distributions. For each distribution, appropriate estimators for the optimal order quantity are considered, and their sampling distributions are derived. Then, through Monte-Carlo simulations, we evaluate the performance of corresponding exact and asymptotic confidence intervals for the true optimal order quantity. The case where normality for demand is erroneously assumed is also investigated. Asymptotic confidence intervals produce higher precision, but to attain equality between their actual and nominal confidence level, samples of at least a certain size should be available. This size depends upon the coefficients of variation, skewness and kurtosis. The paper concludes that having available data on the skewed demand for enough inventory cycles enables (i) to trace non-normality, and (ii) to use the right asymptotic confidence intervals in order the estimates for the optimal order quantity to be valid and precise.

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