Inventory-Responsive Donor-Management Policy: A Tandem Queueing Network Model

Taozeng Zhu, Nicholas Teck Boon Yeo, Sarah Yini Gao, Gar Goei Loke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem definition: In the blood-donor-management problem, the blood bank incentivizes donors to donate, given blood inventory levels. We propose a model to optimize such incentivization schemes under the context of random demand, blood perishability, observation period between donations, and variability in donor arrivals and dropouts. Methodology/results: We propose an optimization model that simultaneously accounts for the dynamics in the blood inventory and the donor’s donation process, as a coupled queueing network. We adopt the Pipeline Queue paradigm, which leads us to a tractable convex reformulation. The coupled setting requires new methodologies to be developed upon the existing Pipeline Queue framework. Numerical results demonstrate the advantages of the optimal policy by comparing it with the commonly adopted and studied threshold policy. Our optimal policy can effectively reduce both shortages and wastage. Managerial implications: Our model is the first to operationalize a dynamic donor-incentivization scheme, by determining the optimal number of donors of different donation responsiveness to receive each type of incentive. It can serve as a decision-support tool that incorporates practical features of blood supply-chain management not addressed thus far, to the best of our knowledge. Simulations on existing policies indicate the dangers of myopic approaches and justify the need for smoother and forward-looking donor-incentivization schedules that can hedge against future demand variation. Our model also has potential wider applications in supply chains with perishable inventory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1585-1602
Number of pages18
JournalManufacturing and Service Operations Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • Pipeline Queues
  • blood collection
  • donor management
  • humanitarian operations
  • perishable inventory management


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