Sourcing from Multiple Suppliers for Price-Dependent Demands



We analyze a model that integrates demand shaping via dynamic pricing and risk mitigation via supply diversification. The firm under consideration replenishes a certain product from a set of capacitated suppliers for a price-dependent demand in each period. Under deterministic capacities, we derive a multilevel base stock list price policy and establish the optimality of cost-based supplier selection, that is, ordering from a cheaper source before more expensive ones. With general random capacities, however, neither result holds. While it is optimal to price low for a high inventory level, the optimal order quantities are not monotone with respect to the inventory level. In general, a near reorder-point policy should be followed. Specifically, there is a reorder point for each supplier such that no order is issued to him when the inventory level is above this point and a positive order is placed almost everywhere when the inventory level is below this point. Under this policy, it may be profitable to order exclusively from the most expensive source. We characterize conditions under which a strict reorder-point policy and a cost-based supplier-selection criterion become optimal. Moreover, we quantify the benefit from dynamic pricing, as opposed to static pricing, and the benefit from multiple sourcing, as opposed to single sourcing. We show that these two strategies exhibit a substitutable relationship. Dynamic pricing is less effective under multiple sourcing than under single sourcing, and supplier diversification is less valuable with price adjustments than without. Under limited supply, dynamic pricing yields a robust, long-term profit improvement. The value of supply diversification, in contrast, mainly comes from added capacities and is most significant in the short run.