Strategic Customer Behavior, Commitment, and Supply Chain Performance

45 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2007

See all articles by Xuanming Su

Xuanming Su

University of Pennsylvania - Operations & Information Management Department

Fuqiang Zhang

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School

Date Written: April 2007

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of strategic customer behavior on supply chain performance. We start with a newsvendor seller facing forward-looking customers. The seller initially charges a regular price but may salvage the leftover inventory at a lower salvage price after random demand is realized. Customers anticipate future sales and choose purchase timing to maximize their expected surplus. We characterize the rational expectations (RE) equilibrium, where we find that the seller's stocking level is lower than that in the classic model without strategic customers. We show that the seller's profit can be improved by promising that: either quantities available will be limited (quantity commitment) or prices will be kept high (price commitment). In most cases, both forms of commitment are not credible in a centralized supply chain with a single seller. However, decentralized supply chains can use contractual arrangements as indirect commitment devices to attain the desired outcomes with commitment. While decentralization has generally been associated with coordination problems, we present the contrasting view that disparate interests within a supply chain can actually improve overall supply chain performance. In particular, with strategic customer behavior, we find that: (i) a decentralized supply chain with a wholesale price contract may perform strictly better than a centralized supply chain; (ii) contracts widely studied in the supply chain coordination literature (e.g., markdown money, sales rebates, and buyback contracts) can serve as a commitment device as well as an incentive-coordinating device; and (iii) some of the above contracts cannot allocate profits arbitrarily between supply chain members due to strategic customer behavior.

Keywords: strategic customer behavior, newsvendor, rational expectations, commitment, supply chains, decentralization

JEL Classification: D24, D84, L14, L23

Suggested Citation

Su, Xuanming and Zhang, Fuqiang, Strategic Customer Behavior, Commitment, and Supply Chain Performance (April 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1010268 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1010268

Xuanming Su (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Operations & Information Management Department ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Fuqiang Zhang

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.olin.wustl.edu/faculty/zhang/

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