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Selling to the Newsvendor: An Analysis of Price-Only Contracts

  • Martin A. Lariviere

    ()

    (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208)

  • Evan L. Porteus

    ()

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

Registered author(s):

    We consider a simple supply-chain contract in which a manufacturer sells to a retailer facing a newsvendor problem and the lone contract parameter is a wholesale price. We develop a mild restriction satisfied by many common distributions that assures that the manufacturer's problem is readily amenable to analysis. The manufacturer's profit and sales quantity increase with market size, but the resulting wholesale price depends on how the market grows. For the cases we consider, we identify relative variability (i.e., the coefficient of variation) as key: As relative variability decreases, the retailer's price sensitivity decreases, the wholesale price increases, the decentralized system becomes more efficient (i.e., captures a greater share of potential profit), and the manufacturer's share of realized profit increases. Decreasing relative variability, however, may leave the retailer severely disadvantaged as the higher wholesale price reduces his profitability. We explore factors that may lead the manufacturer to set a wholesale price below that which would maximize her profit, concentrating on retailer participation in forecasting and retailer power. As these and other considerations can result in a wholesale price below what we initially suggest, our base model represents a worst-case analysis of supply-chain performance.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/msom.3.4.293.9971
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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 4 (May)
    Pages: 293-305

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormsom:v:3:y:2001:i:4:p:293-305
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    1. Andy A. Tsay, 1999. "The Quantity Flexibility Contract and Supplier-Customer Incentives," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(10), pages 1339-1358, October.
    2. Barry Alan Pasternack, 1985. "Optimal Pricing and Return Policies for Perishable Commodities," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 4(2), pages 166-176.
    3. Ananth. V. Iyer & Mark E. Bergen, 1997. "Quick Response in Manufacturer-Retailer Channels," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(4), pages 559-570, April.
    4. Ravi Anupindi & Yehuda Bassok, 1999. "Centralization of Stocks: Retailers vs. Manufacturer," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(2), pages 178-191, February.
    5. Joseph J. Spengler, 1950. "Vertical Integration and Antitrust Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 347.
    6. Jan A. Van Mieghem, 1999. "Coordinating Investment, Production, and Subcontracting," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 954-971, July.
    7. GĂ©rard P. Cachon & Martin A. Lariviere, 2001. "Contracting to Assure Supply: How to Share Demand Forecasts in a Supply Chain," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(5), pages 629-646, May.
    8. Karen L. Donohue, 2000. "Efficient Supply Contracts for Fashion Goods with Forecast Updating and Two Production Modes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(11), pages 1397-1411, November.
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