Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Zhang, Gouqing




More firms are adopting the dual-channel supply chain business model where firms offer their products to customers using dual-channel sales (to offer the item to customers online and offline). The development periods of innovative products have been shortened, especially for high-tech companies, which leads to products with short life cycles. This means that companies need to put their new products on the market as soon as possible. The dual-channel supply chain is a perfect tool to increase the customer’s awareness of new products and to keep customers’ loyalty; firms can offer new products online to the customer faster compared to the traditional retail sales channel. The emergence of dual-channel firms was mainly driven by the expansion in internet use and the advances in information and manufacturing technologies. No existing research has examined inventory strategies, warehouse structure, operations, and capacity in a dual-channel context. Additionally, firms are in need to integrate their global suppliers base; where the lower parts costs compensate for the much higher procurement and cross-border costs; in their supply chain operations. The most common method used to integrate the global supplier base is the use of cross-dock, also known as Third Party Logistic (3PL). This study is motivated by real-world problem, no existing research has considered the optimization of cross-dock operations in terms of dock assignment, storage locations, inventory strategies, and lead time uncertainty in the context of a cross-docking system. In this dissertation, we first study the dual-channel warehouse in the dual-channel supply chain. One of the challenges in running the dual-channel warehouse is how to organize the warehouse and manage inventory to fulfill both online and offline (retailer) orders, where the orders from different channels have different features. A model for a dual-channel warehouse in a dual-channel supply chain is proposed, and a solution approach is developed in the case of deterministic and stochastic lead times. Ending up with numerical examples to highlight the model’s validity and its usefulness as a decision support tool. Second, we extend the first problem to include the global supplier and the cross-border time. The impact of global suppliers and the effect of the cross-border time on the dual-channel warehouse are studied. A cross-border dual-channel warehouse model in a dual-channel supply chain context is proposed. In addition to demand and lead time uncertainty, the cross-border time is included as stochastic parameter. Numerical results and managerial insights are also presented for this problem. Third, motivated by a real-world cross-dock problem, we perform a study at one of the big 3 automotive companies in the USA. The company faces the challenges of optimizing their operations and managing the items in the 3PL when introducing new products. Thus, we investigate a dock assignment problem that considers the dock capacity and storage space and a cross-dock layout. We propose an integrated model to combine the cross-dock assignment problem with cross-dock layout problem so that cross-dock operations can be coordinated effectively. In addition to lead time uncertainty, the cross-border time is included as stochastic parameter. Real case study and numerical results and managerial insights are also presented for this problem highlighting the cross-border effect. Solution methodologies, managerial insights, numerical analysis as well as conclusions and potential future study topics are also provided in this dissertation.