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A Principal-Agent Model for Product Specification and Production

Author

Listed:
  • Ananth V. Iyer

    () (Krannert School of Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907)

  • Leroy B. Schwarz

    () (Krannert School of Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907)

  • Stefanos A. Zenios

    () (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305)

Abstract

This paper develops and analyzes a principal-agent model for product specification and production motivated by Ücore buyingÝ decisions at an automobile manufacturer. The model focuses on two important elements of the ÜcoreÝ buyer's responsibility: (1) assessing the supplier's capability, and (2) allocating some or all of a fixed level of some buyer-internal resource to help the supplier. Under the contracting scheme we model, the buyer (principal) delegates the majority of product specification and production activity to the supplier (agent), but retains the flexibility to commit a given, observable amount of an internally available, limited resource (e.g., engineering hours) to help the supplier. The supplier, in turn, allocates his resource (e.g., engineering hours) to produce the finished product. As in the motivating scenario, both the supplier's resource allocation and capability are assumed to be hidden from the buyer. Hence, the principal's problem is to determine a menu of (resource-commitment, transfer-price) contracts to minimize her total expected cost. Our analysis demonstrates that if buyer resource and supplier capability are substitutes, then the buyer's second-best involvement in the supplier's production process will be greater than first-best. The opposite is true if they are complements. Further, when the opportunity cost for the buyer's resource is zero, then in the substitutes case the buyer will commit all of its resource, while in the complements case the buyer may withhold some resources to screen the supplier type. We describe two applications of the modelÔone in inventory management and one in pharmaceutical drug discoveryÔto illustrate its applicability and versatility. Finally, we use insights from the model to suggest hypotheses for empirical study.

Suggested Citation

  • Ananth V. Iyer & Leroy B. Schwarz & Stefanos A. Zenios, 2005. "A Principal-Agent Model for Product Specification and Production," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(1), pages 106-119, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:51:y:2005:i:1:p:106-119
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1040.0214
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Zhaolin & Ryan, Jennifer K. & Sun, Daewon, 2015. "Multi-attribute procurement contracts," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 137-146.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2015:i:1:p:31:d:61477 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jürgen Mihm, 2010. "Incentives in New Product Development Projects and the Role of Target Costing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(8), pages 1324-1344, August.
    4. Moussawi-Haidar, Lama & Çömez-Dolgan, Nagihan, 2017. "Percentage rent contracts between co-stores," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 258(3), pages 912-925.
    5. Fernando Bernstein & A. Gürhan Kök, 2009. "Dynamic Cost Reduction Through Process Improvement in Assembly Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(4), pages 552-567, April.
    6. Zhengping Wu & Wanshan Zhu & Pascale Crama, 2011. "The Newsvendor Problem with Advertising Revenue," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 13(3), pages 281-296, July.
    7. Sang-Hyun Kim & Serguei Netessine, 2013. "Collaborative Cost Reduction and Component Procurement Under Information Asymmetry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(1), pages 189-206, November.
    8. Erica L. Plambeck & Terry A. Taylor, 2007. "Implications of Renegotiation for Optimal Contract Flexibility and Investment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(12), pages 1872-1886, December.
    9. Richard Kum-yew Lai, 2005. "Inventory Signals," Microeconomics 0509001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Sang-Hyun Kim & Morris A. Cohen & Serguei Netessine, 2007. "Performance Contracting in After-Sales Service Supply Chains," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(12), pages 1843-1858, December.
    11. Bin Shen & Tsan-Ming Choi & Chris Kwan-Yu Lo, 2015. "Enhancing Economic Sustainability by Markdown Money Supply Contracts in the Fashion Industry: China vs U.S.A," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(1), pages 1-14, December.
    12. repec:eee:ejores:v:264:y:2018:i:1:p:239-256 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Qi Feng & Lauren Xiaoyuan Lu, 2012. "The Strategic Perils of Low Cost Outsourcing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(6), pages 1196-1210, June.
    14. Gao, Long, 2015. "Collaborative forecasting, inventory hedging and contract coordination in dynamic supply risk management," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 245(1), pages 133-145.
    15. Herbert Dawid & Reinhold Decker & Thomas Hermann & Hermann Jahnke & Wilhelm Klat & Rolf König & Christian Stummer, 2017. "Management science in the era of smart consumer products: challenges and research perspectives," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 25(1), pages 203-230, March.
    16. Erica L. Plambeck & Terry A. Taylor, 2006. "Partnership in a Dynamic Production System with Unobservable Actions and Noncontractible Output," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(10), pages 1509-1527, October.
    17. Guillaume Roels & Uday S. Karmarkar & Scott Carr, 2010. "Contracting for Collaborative Services," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(5), pages 849-863, May.
    18. Jose A. Guajardo & Morris A. Cohen & Sang-Hyun Kim & Serguei Netessine, 2012. "Impact of Performance-Based Contracting on Product Reliability: An Empirical Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(5), pages 961-979, May.
    19. repec:eee:ejores:v:264:y:2018:i:3:p:932-947 is not listed on IDEAS

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