The governing dynamics of supply chains: The impact of altruistic behaviour


This paper analyses an infinite horizon two-echelon supply chain inventory problem and shows that a sequence of the optimum ordering policies does not yield globally optimal solutions for the overall supply chain. First-order autoregressive demand pattern is assumed and each participant adopts the order-up-to (OUT) policy with a minimum mean square error forecasting scheme to generate replenishment orders. To control the dynamics of the supply chain, a proportional controller is incorporated into the OUT policy, which we call a generalised OUT policy. A two-echelon supply chain with this generalised OUT policy achieves over 10% inventory related cost reduction. To enjoy this cost saving, the attitude of first echelon player to cost increases is an essential factor. This attitude also reduces the bullwhip effect. An important insight revealed herein is that a significant amount of benefit comes from the player doing what is the best for the overall supply chain, rather than what is the best for local cost minimisation.

Automatica, 42 (4), 1301-1309