Smooth is smart: Bullwhip, inventory, fill-rates and the golden ratio


A major cause of supply chain deficiencies is the bullwhip effect. This effect refers to the tendency of the variance of the replenishment orders to increase as one moves up a supply chain. Supply chain managers experience this variance amplification in both inventory levels and replenishment orders. As a result, companies face shortages or bloated inventories, run-away transportation and warehousing costs and major production adjustment costs. In this article we analyze a major cause of the bullwhip effect and suggest a remedy. We focus on a unique replenishment rule that is able to reduce the bullwhip effect. In general, bullwhip reduction may have a negative impact on customer service due to inventory variance increases. Our analysis shows that bullwhip can be satisfactorily managed without unduly increasing stock levels to maintain target fill rates.

Tijdschrift voor Economie en Management-Review of Business and Economic Literature, L (2), 167-186