We study the strategic role of inventory in a sequential two-period procurement setting, where the supplier's capacity in the first period is limited and the retailer has the option to hold inventory. We compare the equilibrium under a dynamic contract, where the decisions are made at the beginning of each period, and a commitment contract, where the decisions for both periods are made at the beginning of the first period. We show that there is a critical capacity level below which the outcomes under both types of contracts are identical. When the first period capacity is above the critical level, the retailer holds inventory in equilibrium and the inventory is carried due to purely strategic reasons; as capacity increases, so does the strategic role of inventory. The supplier always prefers lower capacity than the retailer, and the difference between supplier-optimal and supply-chain optimal capacities, and the corresponding profits, can be significant. Finally, we find that the retailer's flexibility to hold inventory is not always good for the participants or for the channel.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management
- Management Science and Operations Research
- Management of Technology and Innovation