PhD defence of Willem van Jaarsveld on Thursday 30 May 2013

Promotie Willem van Jaarsveld op donderdag 30 mei 2013

On Thursday 30 May 2013 Willem van Jaarsveld will defend his PhD thesis entitled 'Maintenance Centred Service Parts Inventory Control'. His supervisor is Professor Rommert Dekker. Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Dr. Erwin van der Laan (Erasmus University of Rotterdam, Professor Ruud Teunter (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) and Professor Geert-Jan van Houtum (Eindhoven University of Technology).

Time and location

The PhD defence will take place in the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam and will start at 15.30 hrs.

About the dissertation

How well is inventory control aligned with maintenance in your organisation? How can you use inventory control to meet maintenance targets? In his PhD dissertation entitled Maintenance Centered Service Parts Inventory Control, Willem van Jaarsveld develops methods to remove the knowledge barrier prohibiting companies from effectively basing service part inventory control on maintenance needs.

Different service parts can often be used together when performing maintenance on capital goods such as aircraft, trains, etc. By aligning their service parts inventory control based on this knowledge, companies would be able to base their inventory decisions directly on planned maintenance, making it easier to achieve maintenance targets on time. 

Maintenance information is often ignored in controlling service parts inventories because of a lacking understanding of how to properly align inventory control with maintenance. In his thesis, Willem van Jaarsveld develops methods to remove this barrier, guiding organisations in basing inventory control directly on maintenance.

Van Jaarsveld finds that service parts demand forecasts can be significantly improved when based on maintenance planning, and he develops methods that allow companies to guarantee that all service parts needed to complete maintenance are available.

About Willem van Jaarsveld

Willem van Jaarsveld holds master's degrees in Physics from Utrecht University and Econometrics and Management Science from Erasmus University Rotterdam (cum laude). In 2008, he started his PhD research at Erasmus School of Economics. His field of research is Operations Research, and in particular service logistics. He has developed methods that allow companies to translate their business objectives to inventory policies for individual service parts. He has applied his research in several projects with companies such as Fokker Services and Shell Global Solutions.

Chapters of this thesis have been presented at various conferences, such as CORS-INFORMS, ISIR, ESREL, POMS, and the INFORMS Annual Meeting, and published in the International Journal of Production Economics, Reliability Engineering and System Safety, and the European Journal of Operational Research. Other chapters have been submitted to international, refereed journals.

After defending his PhD thesis, Willem will work as an assistant professor at the Econometric Institute of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. He will continue to perform research in the area of service logistics, and to apply his research in practice.

Abstract of 'Maintenance Centred Service Parts Inventory Control'

High-tech capital goods enable the production of many services and articles that have become a part of our daily lives.  Examples include the refineries that produce the gasoline we put in our cars, the photolithography systems that enable the production of the chips in our cell phones and laptops, the trains and railway infrastructure that facilitate public transport and the aircraft that permit us to travel long distances.  To prevent costly production disruptions of such systems when failures occur, it is crucial that service parts are readily available to replace any failed parts. However, service parts represent significant investments and failures are unpredictable, so it is unclear which parts should be stocked and in what quantity.

In this thesis, analytical models and solution methods are developed to aid companies in making this decision.  Amongst other things, we analyse systems in which multiple parts need replacement after a failure, a situation that is frequently encountered in practice. This affects the ability to complete repairs in a timely fashion.  We develop new modelling techniques in order to successfully apply scalable deterministic approaches, such as column generation techniques and sample average approximation methods, to this stochastic problem. This leads to solution techniques that, unlike traditional methods, can ensure that all parts needed to complete maintenance are readily available. The approach is capable of meeting the challenging requirements of a real-life repair shop.

More information

Van Jaarsveld’s PhD research project is conducted within the Erasmus Doctoral Programme in Business & Management, organised by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), the joint research institute of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by e-mail: