Coordination of a supply chain with consumer return under demand uncertainty
This paper investigates coordination of a supply chain consisting of one manufacturer and one retailer facing consumer return. We integrate consumer returns policy and manufacturer buyback policy within a modeling framework and explicitly model the positive effect of refund amount on demand and its negative effect on the probability that consumers keep the products. We design a buyback/markdown money contract to coordinate the supply chain under partial refund policy and find that the refund amount plays an important role in the decisions and profitability of the players. In the coordinated setting with given buyback price, the refund amount first increases the players' expected profits/quantity, and then decreases them. When the risk (variance) of the consumer's valuation increases, the manufacturer may raise the unit wholesale price to achieve a higher unit profit. The supply chain is better off using full refund policy if the risk is very small; otherwise, the supply chain prefers no returns policy. The results of this paper are robust to distribution form.
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