Spare parts classification in industrial manufacturing using the dominance-based rough set approach

Qiwei Hu, Salem Chakhar, Sajid Siraj, Ashraf Labib

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Classification is one of the critical issues in the operations management of spare parts. The issue of managing spare parts involves multiple criteria to be taken into consideration, and therefore, a number of approaches exists that consider criteria such as criticality, price, demand, lead time, and obsolescence, to name a few. In this paper, we first review proposals to deal with inventory control. We then propose a three-phase multicriteria classification framework for spare parts management using the dominance-based rough set approach (DRSA). In the first phase, a set of ‘if–then’ decision rules is generated from historical data using the DRSA. The generated rules are then validated in the second phase by using both the automated and manual approaches, including cross-validation and feedback assessments by the decision maker. The third and final phase is to classify an unseen set of spare parts in a real setting. The proposed approach has been successfully applied to data collected from a manufacturing company in China. The proposed framework was practically tested on different spare parts and, based on the feedback received from the industry experts, 96% of the spare parts were correctly classified. Furthermore, the cross-validation results show that the proposed approach significantly outperforms other well-known classification methods. The proposed approach has several important characteristics that distinguish it from existing ones: (i) it is a learning-set based analysis approach; (ii) it uses a powerful multicriteria classification method, namely the DRSA; (iii) it validates the generated decision rules with multiple strategies; and (iv) it actively involves the decision maker during all the steps of the decision making process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)1136-1163
Number of pages28
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
Early online date27 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • rough Sets
  • spare parts
  • ABC classification
  • Multiple Criteria Inventory Classification
  • Dominance-based Rough Set Approach


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