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Promised Delivery Time and Capacity Games in Time-Based Competition


  • Weixin Shang

    () (School of Management, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China)

  • Liming Liu

    () (Faculty of Business, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China)


We investigate firms' competitive behaviors in industries where customers are sensitive to both promised delivery time (PDT) and quality of service (QoS) measured by the on-time delivery rate. To study the competition in PDT at the marketing level, we construct an oligopoly game with an external QoS requirement. We show that there exists a unique Nash equilibrium, and the equilibrium QoS exhibits a switching surface structure with respect to capacities. To study the competition in capacity at the strategic level, we construct a two-stage game in which the firms compete in terms of their capacities in stage 1 and in terms of PDT in stage 2. We show the existence of two different types of pure strategy equilibria and characterize them. This study provides the following insights: an index of time-based competitive advantage (ITCA) and the first-mover advantage determine the positions of the firms in time-based competition; either the well-known prisoner's dilemma or off-equilibrium behaviors due to different preferences for equilibria (when multiple equilibria exist) may lead the firms to overinvest in capacity, but no one may gain a competitive advantage; a uniform improvement in internal efficiency (i.e., a uniform capacity cost reduction) may harm everyone; quality differentiation (i.e., going beyond the QoS benchmark) plays a dual role in time-based competition, either helping a firm with a larger ITCA to compete more effectively, or helping a firm possibly with a smaller ITCA to preempt competitors and protect its market advantage. This paper was accepted by Paul H. Zipkin, operations and supply chain management.

Suggested Citation

  • Weixin Shang & Liming Liu, 2011. "Promised Delivery Time and Capacity Games in Time-Based Competition," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(3), pages 599-610, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:3:p:599-610

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhu, Stuart X., 2015. "Integration of capacity, pricing, and lead-time decisions in a decentralized supply chain," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 14-23.
    2. repec:cmj:seapas:y:2018:i:16:p:37-46 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Li, Gang & Huang, Feng Feng & Cheng, T.C.E. & Zheng, Quan & Ji, Ping, 2014. "Make-or-buy service capacity decision in a supply chain providing after-sales service," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 239(2), pages 377-388.
    4. Zhang, Jian & Nault, Barrie R. & Tu, Yiliu, 2015. "A dynamic pricing strategy for a 3PL provider with heterogeneous customers," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 31-43.
    5. repec:eee:transb:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:317-336 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:osi:bulimm:v:17:y:2017:p:265-280 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:spr:annopr:v:241:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-012-1085-6 is not listed on IDEAS


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