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Sell the Plant? The Impact of Contract Manufacturing on Innovation, Capacity, and Profitability

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  • Erica L. Plambeck

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

  • Terry A. Taylor

    () (Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027)

Abstract

In the electronics industry and others, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are selling their production facilities to contract manufacturers (CMs). The CMs achieve high capacity utilization through pooling (supplying many different OEMs). Meanwhile, the OEMs focus on innovation: research and development, product design, and marketing. We examine how this change in industry structure affects investment in innovation and capacity, and thus profitability. In particular, innovation is noncontractible, so OEMs will invest less in innovation than is ideal for the industry as a whole. Hence, although contract manufacturing improves capacity utilization, it may reduce the profitability of the industry as a whole by weakening the incentives for innovation. Contract manufacturing is not the only means to achieve capacity pooling. Alternatively, the OEMs can pool capacity with one another through supply contracts or a joint venture. This may result in underinvestment or overinvestment in innovation and capacity, but always increases profitability. We find that the sale of production facilities to a CM improves profitability for the industry as a whole if and only if OEMs are subsequently in a strong bargaining position vis-à-vis the CM. If the OEMs are indeed very strong, the gain from pooling capacity via contract manufacturing is maximized in industries with moderate cost of capacity.

Suggested Citation

  • Erica L. Plambeck & Terry A. Taylor, 2005. "Sell the Plant? The Impact of Contract Manufacturing on Innovation, Capacity, and Profitability," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(1), pages 133-150, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:51:y:2005:i:1:p:133-150
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1040.0212
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kabiraj, Tarun & Sinha, Uday Bhanu, 2016. "Strategic outsourcing with technology transfer under price competition," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 281-290.
    2. Serguei Netessine & Nils Rudi, 2006. "Supply Chain Choice on the Internet," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(6), pages 844-864, June.
    3. S. Katie Moon & Gordon M. Phillips, 2014. "Outside Purchase Contracts, Human Capital and Firm Capital Structure," NBER Working Papers 20579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Chou, Yon-Chun & Huang, Hsing-Yi & Jahn, John & Kuo, Chien-Hung, 2010. "A framework of economic analysis for tapered technology-manufacturing alliances," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(2), pages 249-261, October.
    5. Zhao, Xuan & Shi, Chunming, 2011. "Structuring and contracting in competing supply chains," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(2), pages 434-446, December.
    6. Huasheng Zhu & Xue Huang & Qingcan He & Jie Li & Lingzhi Ren, 2016. "Sustaining Competitiveness: Moving Towards Upstream Manufacturing in Specialized-Market-Based Clusters in the Chinese Toy Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(2), pages 1-19, February.
    7. 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.
    8. Liston, Paul & Byrne, James & Byrne, P.J. & Heavey, Cathal, 2007. "Contract costing in outsourcing enterprises: Exploring the benefits of discrete-event simulation," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(1-2), pages 97-114, October.
    9. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:176:d:64020 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Han, Chaodong & Porterfield, Tobin & Li, Xiaolin, 2012. "Impact of industry competition on contract manufacturing: An empirical study of U.S. manufacturers," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 159-169.
    11. Erica L. Plambeck & Terry A. Taylor, 2007. "Implications of Breach Remedy and Renegotiation Design for Innovation and Capacity," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(12), pages 1859-1871, December.
    12. Sezer Ülkü & L. Beril Toktay & Enver Yücesan, 2007. "Risk Ownership in Contract Manufacturing," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 9(3), pages 225-241, April.
    13. Qi Feng & Lauren Xiaoyuan Lu, 2012. "The Strategic Perils of Low Cost Outsourcing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(6), pages 1196-1210, June.
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    15. Cheng, Liang-Chieh (Victor), 2011. "Assessing performance of utilizing organizational modularity to manage supply chains: Evidence in the US manufacturing sector," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(2), pages 736-746, June.
    16. Nagarajan, Mahesh & Sosic, Greys, 2008. "Game-theoretic analysis of cooperation among supply chain agents: Review and extensions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 187(3), pages 719-745, June.
    17. D. J. Wu & Paul R. Kleindorfer, 2005. "Competitive Options, Supply Contracting, and Electronic Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(3), pages 452-466, March.
    18. Eda Kemahl{i}ou{g}lu-Ziya & John J. Bartholdi, III, 2011. "Centralizing Inventory in Supply Chains by Using Shapley Value to Allocate the Profits," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 13(2), pages 146-162, September.
    19. Li, X. & Zuidwijk, R.A. & de Koster, M.B.M. & Dekker, R., 2016. "Competitive Capacity Investment under Uncertainty," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2016-005-LIS, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

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