Inventory Analytics --- book by Prof. Roberto Rossi; Open Book Publishers

From IFORS Developing Countries Online Resources
Jump to: navigation, search

About the book

Inventory Analytics provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the theory and practice of inventory control – a significant research area central to supply chain planning. The book outlines the foundations of inventory systems and surveys prescriptive analytics models for deterministic inventory control. It further discusses predictive analytics techniques for demand forecasting in inventory control and also examines prescriptive analytics models for stochastic inventory control.

Inventory Analytics is the first book of its kind to adopt a practicable, Python-driven approach to illustrating theories and concepts via computational examples, with each model covered in the book accompanied by its Python code. Originating as a collection of self-contained lectures, Inventory Analytics will be an indispensable resource for practitioners, researchers, teachers, and students alike.


This book originates as a collection of self-contained lectures. These lectures are divided into an introduction to inventory control, which outlines the foundations of inventory systems; followed by three chapters on deterministic inventory control, demand forecasting, and stochastic inventory control.

Beside Inventory, the title of the book refers to Analytics. This is nowadays a concept that has been inflated with a plethora of meanings, so that it becomes difficult to understand exactly what each of us means when we refer to it. The Cambridge Dictionary defines Analytics as “a process in which a computer examines information using mathematical methods in order to find useful patterns.” However, this appears to be quite a restrictive definition for our purposes.

To better understand the nature of Analytics, it is useful to observe that Analytics is often broken down into three parts: descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive. Descriptive Analytics is concerned with answering the question: “what happened?” Predictive Analytics is concerned with answering the question: “what will happen?”

Prescriptive Analytics is concerned with answering the question: “how can we make it happen?” These are clearly complex questions that cannot be answered by mere number crunching on a computer: to answer these questions a decision maker must leverage soft as well as hard skills.

Many tend to think that the Analytics phenomenon is a recent development related to widespread availability of computing power. However, in his work “De Inventione,” the Roman philosopher Cicero states that “there are three parts to Prudence: Memory, Intelligence, and Foresight.” It is clear that Memory is the skill required to answer the question “what happened?”; Foresight, that required to answer the question “what will happen?”; and Intelligence, that required to answer the question “how can we make it happen?” It appears then that Analytics is just a contemporary rebranding of an art that has been known for millenia. Prudentia is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason. Inventio is the central canon of rhetoric, a method devoted to systematic search for arguments. Incidentally, inventio also means inventory. In fact, when a new argument is found, it is invented, in the sense of “added to the inventory” of arguments. Prudentia and Inventio are the foundations upon which the art of Rhetoric stands.

link to material:

link to PDF file: