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The Effects of Selling Packaged Goods on Inventory Decisions


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  • Ricardo Ernst

    (McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057)

  • Panagiotis Kouvelis

    (Olin School of Business, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri 63130-4899)

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    In this paper, we study within a newsboy type modeling framework the common business practice of retail firms to sell products not only as independent items, but also as part of multiproduct packets (packaged goods). Our emphasis is on understanding the effects of such practices on the inventory decisions of the firm. We provide insights on the resulting level of suboptimality when inventory decisions are made with demand information only on the independent items and without accounting for the demand substitution structure induced between independent items and packaged goods. Our stylized model studies an environment with two products that are not direct substitutes for each other, sold either independently or as part of a packet that contains one unit of each. We provide necessary and sufficient optimality conditions for this model and suggest an efficient numerical search for obtaining the optimal stocking levels. An extensive computational study allowed us to provide insights on the nature of the optimal stocking policies, the suboptimality of independent newsboy policies, the effects of demand correlation among individual products and multiproduct packets, and the determining role of induced substitution structure among products during stockout occasions on the profitability of the inventory system.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 45 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 1142-1155

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:8:p:1142-1155

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    Related research

    Keywords: inventory with substitution; bundling policies; newsvendor problem; retail inventories; product line design;


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    Cited by:
    1. Tang, Christopher S., 2006. "Perspectives in supply chain risk management," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 451-488, October.
    2. Montrucchio, Luigi & Scarsini, Marco, 2007. "Large newsvendor games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 316-337, February.
    3. Wei, Ying & Chen, Youhua (Frank), 2011. "Joint determination of inventory replenishment and sales effort with uncertain market responses," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(2), pages 368-374, December.
    4. Vaagen, Hajnalka & Wallace, Stein W. & Kaut, Michal, 2011. "Modelling consumer-directed substitution," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(2), pages 388-397, December.
    5. Stavrulaki, Euthemia, 2011. "Inventory decisions for substitutable products with stock-dependent demand," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 65-78, January.
    6. McCardle, Kevin F. & Rajaram, Kumar & Tang, Christopher S., 2007. "Bundling retail products: Models and analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 177(2), pages 1197-1217, March.
    7. Yang, Hongsuk & Schrage, Linus, 2009. "Conditions that cause risk pooling to increase inventory," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 192(3), pages 837-851, February.
    8. Zhang, Ren-Qian & Zhang, Lan-Kang & Zhou, Wen-Hui & Saigal, Romesh & Wang, Hui-Wen, 2014. "The multi-item newsvendor model with cross-selling and the solution when demand is jointly normally distributed," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 236(1), pages 147-159.
    9. Gürlera, Ülkü & Öztop, Salih & Sen, Alper, 2009. "Optimal bundle formation and pricing of two products with limited stock," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 442-462, April.


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