Contractual agreements for coordination and vendor-managed delivery under explicit transportation considerations
Naval Research Logistics
John Wiley & Sons
397 - 417
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We consider the coordination problem between a vendor and a buyer operating under generalized replenishment costs that include fixed costs as well as stepwise freight costs. We study the stochastic demand, single-period setting where the buyer must decide on the order quantity to satisfy random demand for a single item with a short product life cycle. The full order for the cycle is placed before the cycle begins and no additional orders are accepted by the vendor. Due to the nonrecurring nature of the problem, the vendor's replenishment quantity is determined by the buyer's order quantity. Consequently, by using an appropriate pricing schedule to influence the buyer's ordering behavior, there is an opportunity for the vendor to achieve substantial savings from transportation expenses, which are represented in the generalized replenishment cost function. For the problem of interest, we prove that the vendor's expected profit is not increasing in buyer's order quantity. Therefore, unlike the earlier work in the area, it is not necessarily profitable for the vendor to encourage larger order quantities. Using this nontraditional result, we demonstrate that the concept of economies of scale may or may not work by identifying the cases where the vendor can increase his/her profits either by increasing or decreasing the buyer's order quantity. We prove useful properties of the expected profit functions in the centralized and decentralized models of the problem, and we utilize these properties to develop alternative incentive schemes for win-win solutions. Our analysis allows us to quantify the value of coordination and, hence, to identify additional opportunities for the vendor to improve his/her profits by potentially turning a nonprofitable transaction into a profitable one through the use of an appropriate tariff schedule or a vendor-managed delivery contract. We demonstrate that financial gain associated with these opportunities is truly tangible under a vendor-managed delivery arrangement that potentially improves the centralized solution. Although we take the viewpoint of supply chain coordination and our goal is to provide insights about the effect of transportation considerations on the channel coordination objective and contractual agreements, the paper also contributes to the literature by analyzing and developing efficient approaches for solving the centralized problem with stepwise freight costs in the single-period setting.
Integrated inventory/transportation decisions