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Volume flexibility and capacity investment under demand uncertainty

Author

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  • Hagspiel, Verena
  • Huisman, Kuno J.M.
  • Kort, Peter M.

Abstract

The paper considers optimal capacity investment decisions under uncertainty taking a real options approach. Concerning the production decision, we study a flexible and an inflexible scenario. The flexible firm can costlessly adjust production over time with the capacity level as the upper bound, while the inflexible firm fixes production at capacity level from the moment of investment onwards. We find that the flexible firm invests in higher capacity than the inflexible firm, where the capacity difference increases with uncertainty. For the flexible firm the initial capacity utilization rate can be quite low, especially when investment costs are concave and the economic environment is uncertain. As to the timing of the investment there are two contrary effects. First, the flexible firm has an incentive to invest earlier, because flexibility raises the project value. Second, the flexible firm has an incentive to invest later, because costs are larger due to the higher capacity level. The latter effect dominates in highly uncertain economic environments. Our model being dynamic enables us to derive the at first sight counterintuitive result that an increase in capacity holding cost raises the capacity level the firm invests in.

Suggested Citation

  • Hagspiel, Verena & Huisman, Kuno J.M. & Kort, Peter M., 2016. "Volume flexibility and capacity investment under demand uncertainty," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 95-108.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:178:y:2016:i:c:p:95-108
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2016.05.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bar-Ilan, Avner & Strange, William C., 1999. "The Timing and Intensity of Investment," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 57-77, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michail Chronopoulos & Verena Hagspiel & Stein-Erik Fleten, 2017. "Stepwise investment and capacity sizing under uncertainty," OR Spectrum: Quantitative Approaches in Management, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research e.V., vol. 39(2), pages 447-472, March.
    2. Wen, Xingang & Hagspiel, V. & Kort, Peter, 2017. "Subsidized Capacity Investment under Uncertainty," Discussion Paper 2017-043, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    3. repec:eee:ejores:v:262:y:2017:i:2:p:660-672 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Wen, Xingang, 2017. "Strategic Capacity Investment under Uncertainty with Volume Flexibility," Discussion Paper 2017-019, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    5. repec:eee:proeco:v:198:y:2018:i:c:p:165-176 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:pal:jorsoc:v:68:y:2017:i:12:d:10.1057_s41274-017-0196-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Lavrutich, Maria N., 2017. "Capacity choice under uncertainty in a duopoly with endogenous exit," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 258(3), pages 1033-1053.
    8. Xingang Wen & Peter M. Kort & Dolf Talman, 2017. "Volume flexibility and capacity investment: a real options approach," Journal of the Operational Research Society, Palgrave Macmillan;The OR Society, vol. 68(12), pages 1633-1646, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Investment analysis; Flexible manufacturing; Real options; Capacity choice;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies

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