Performance tradeoffs for spare parts supply chains with additive manufacturing capability servicing intermittent demand

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Mathematical Sciences

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Defense Analytics and Logistics

Document Type




The study aims to investigate the impact of additive manufacturing (AM) on the performance of a spare parts supply chain with a particular focus on underlying spare part demand patterns.


This work evaluates various AM-enabled supply chain configurations through Monte Carlo simulation. Historical demand simulation and intermittent demand forecasting are used in conjunction with a mixed integer linear program to determine optimal network nodal inventory policies. By varying demand characteristics and AM capacity this work assesses how to best employ AM capability within the network.


This research assesses the preferred AM-enabled supply chain configuration for varying levels of intermittent demand patterns and AM production capacity. The research shows that variation in demand patterns alone directly affects the preferred network configuration. The relationship between the demand volume and relative AM production capacity affects the regions of superior network configuration performance.

Research limitations/implications

This research makes several simplifying assumptions regarding AM technical capabilities. AM production time is assumed to be deterministic and does not consider build failure probability, build chamber capacity, part size, part complexity and post-processing requirements.


This research is the first study to link realistic spare part demand characterization to AM supply chain design using quantitative modeling.

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