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Product-Line Competition: Customization vs. Proliferation

Author

Listed:
  • Haim Mendelson

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

  • Ali K. Parlaktürk

    () (Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599)

Abstract

We study a market with customers who have heterogeneous preferences for product attributes. We consider two types of firms that compete on price and product variety: A traditional firm, which chooses a limited set of product configurations, and a customizing firm, which can produce any configuration to order. The traditional firm carries product inventories and experiences a lead-time delay. The customizing firm does not carry inventory, and its customers incur waiting costs until they receive their orders. We assume that the customizing firm has limited capacity in the short run (e.g., when it does not outsource production to high-volume manufacturers). We derive the equilibrium for a duopoly competition between the customizing firm and the traditional firm, study its characteristics, and compare it to a monopoly. We characterize conditions that favor customization under competition. We find that the customizing firm's profit is not monotone in the market size and its ease of customization. Similarly, a decline in the traditional firm's holding cost may increase or decrease its profit. We show that the unit cost differential between the firms crucially affects the customizing firm's ideal market size, its returns from expanding capacity, its product variety, and the way operational improvements affect its performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Haim Mendelson & Ali K. Parlaktürk, 2008. "Product-Line Competition: Customization vs. Proliferation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(12), pages 2039-2053, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:54:y:2008:i:12:p:2039-2053
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1080.0935
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tang, Christopher S., 2010. "A review of marketing-operations interface models: From co-existence to coordination and collaboration," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 22-40, May.
    2. Oksana Loginova, 2010. "Brand familiarity and product knowledge in customization," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 6(3), pages 297-309.
    3. Hsu, Wen-Tai & Lu, Yi & Ng, Travis, 2014. "Does competition lead to customization?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 10-28.
    4. Wong, Hartanto & Lesmono, Dharma, 2013. "On the evaluation of product customization strategies in a vertically differentiated market," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 105-117.
    5. Fogliatto, Flavio S. & da Silveira, Giovani J.C. & Borenstein, Denis, 2012. "The mass customization decade: An updated review of the literature," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 14-25.
    6. Oksana Loginova & X. Henry Wang, 2009. "Customization: Ideal Varieties, Product Uniqueness and Price Competition," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(4), pages 2573-2581.
    7. Takagoshi, Noritsugu & Matsubayashi, Nobuo, 2013. "Customization competition between branded firms: Continuous extension of product line from core product," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 225(2), pages 337-352.
    8. Sergio Chayet & Panos Kouvelis & Dennis Z. Yu, 2011. "Product Variety and Capacity Investments in Congested Production Systems," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 13(3), pages 390-403, July.
    9. Felipe Caro & Victor Martínez-de-Albéniz, 2012. "Product and Price Competition with Satiation Effects," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(7), pages 1357-1373, July.
    10. Shao, Xiao-Feng, 2012. "Demand-side reactive strategies for supply disruptions in a multiple-product system," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 241-252.
    11. Hara, Reiya & Matsubayashi, Nobuo, 2017. "Premium store brand: Product development collaboration between retailers and national brand manufacturers," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 128-138.
    12. Ayd{i}n Alptekinou{g}lu & Charles J. Corbett, 2010. "Leadtime-Variety Tradeoff in Product Differentiation," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 12(4), pages 569-582, January.

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