Blood Platelet Inventory Control for a Blood Center with Limited Supply


  • Yanzhi David LI (Principal Investigator)Department of Management Sciences
  • Zhan PANG (Co-Investigator)Department of Computer Science


This project is concerned with the problem of production/inventory control of platelets ina blood center, which processes whole blood into blood components. Platelets are criticaland highly perishable blood components used in hospital blood transfusion. Goodmanagement of platelets is expected to provide adequate supply for medical usage at areasonable cost. Two recent changes have made the inventory control of platelets morechallenging than before. One is that the now prevalent bacterial contamination testingessentially reduces the effective lifetime of platelets to three days, which may potentiallylead to more expiration. Second, due to recent medical advances in the treatment ofcancer and other conditions, the demand for platelets is growing dramatically. As aresult, the supply of platelets, which depends on the whole blood supply, has becometight.In view of the new challenges, we have been motivated to study the plateletproduction/inventory control problem for a blood center. We formulate the problem intoa dynamic programming model. The model is challenging to solve due to itsmultidimensional state space coupled with uncertain supply constraints and two demandclasses. We will study sequentially two cases relating to the problem, namely, without orwith supply constraints. We will explore the structural properties of the problem andcharacterize the optimal solutions. Due to our research experience on perishableinventory control, we anticipate the optimal solutions will be state-dependent and verycomplicated. For practical implementation, we will propose efficient and effectiveheuristic policies that are simple but nearly optimal.Finally, in this project we will work with the Hong Kong Red Cross Blood TransfusionService (BTS), which is the only blood provider in Hong Kong in charge of bloodcollection, processing and delivery. The BTS has provided us with the needed historicaldemand and supply data and expressed willingness to pilot and implement our solutionapproach. The completion of the project will help greatly improve the plateletmanagement practice in Hong Kong and also provide general implications foroperational improvements in other places of the world that are facing similar newchallenges.


Project number 9042254
Status Active
Effective start/end date 1/10/15 -> …

Research areas

Inventory control,Perishable inventory control,Platelet inventory control,Supply uncertainty,