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Keywords:

  • Long-distance Transportation ;
  • Perishable Products ;
  • Pull/Push Supply Chains ;
  • and Supply Chain Management.

ABSTRACT

This article considers a class of fresh-product supply chains in which products need to be transported by the upstream producer from a production base to a distant retail market. Due to high perishablility a portion of the products being shipped may decay during transportation, and therefore, become unsaleable. We consider a supply chain consisting of a single producer and a single distributor, and investigate two commonly adopted business models: (i) In the “pull” model, the distributor places an order, then the producer determines the shipping quantity, taking into account potential product decay during transportation, and transports the products to the destination market of the distributor; (ii) In the “push” model, the producer ships a batch of products to a distant wholesale market, and then the distributor purchases and resells to end customers. By considering a price-sensitive end-customer demand, we investigate the optimal decisions for supply chain members, including order quantity, shipping quantity, and retail price. Our research shows that both the producer and distributor (and thus the supply chain) will perform better if the pull model is adopted. To improve the supply chain performance, we propose a fixed inventory-plus factor (FIPF) strategy, in which the producer announces a pre-determined inventory-plus factor and the distributor compensates the producer for any surplus inventory that would otherwise be wasted. We show that this strategy is a Pareto improvement over the pull and push models for both parties. Finally, numerical experiments are conducted, which reveal some interesting managerial insights on the comparison between different business models.