Multi-Tiered Supply Chain Risk Management

27 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2018

See all articles by Georg Schorpp

Georg Schorpp

End-to-End Analytics

Feryal Erhun

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

Hau L. Lee

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: January 2018


We study contracting for a three-tier supply chain consisting of a buyer, a supplier, and a sub-supplier where disruptions of random length occur at the sub-supplier. As is common in supply chains, the buyer has a direct relationship with the supplier but not the sub-supplier; that is, the buyer has limited supply chain visibility. Both the supplier and the sub-supplier can reserve emergency capacity proactively to protect the supply chain from a disruption. We study how the buyer and the supplier can guarantee that the correct level of emergency capacity is reserved. Due to two types of inefficiencies—a special form of double marginalization and the substitution effect—the supply chain is misaligned in its decentralized form, leading to either under or over-reservation of emergency capacity by the sub-supplier depending on the cost structure of the supply chain. The lack of visibility prevents the buyer from directly contracting with the sub-supplier to eliminate these inefficiencies. Yet, he can coordinate the supply chain through cascading: i.e., contracting with the supplier (using a value-based carrot-and-stick contract), who in turn contracts with the sub-supplier (using a cost-based carrot-and-stick or two-level wholesale price contract, depending on the cost structure of the supply chain). Although the sub-supplier is the source of limited visibility in the supply chain and is the party with private information, the supplier is the one that benefits from this limited visibility and is the party that receives information rent from the buyer.

Keywords: multi-tier supply chain, disruption risk, asymmetric information, contract design

Suggested Citation

Schorpp, Georg and Erhun, Feryal and Lee, Hau L., Multi-Tiered Supply Chain Risk Management (January 2018). Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 18-9, Available at SSRN: or

Georg Schorpp (Contact Author)

End-to-End Analytics ( email )

2595 E Bayshore Rd
Palo Alto, CA 94303
United States

Feryal Erhun

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom

Hau L. Lee

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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