On variance amplification in a three-echelon supply chain with minimum mean square error forecasting


We analyse a three echelon supply chain model. First-order autoregressive end consumer demand is assumed. We obtain exact analytical expressions for bullwhip and net inventory variance at each echelon in the supply chain. All of the three supply chain participants employ the order-up-to policy with the minimum mean square error forecasting scheme. After demonstrating that the character of the stochastic ordering process observed at each level of the supply chain is mathematically tractable, we show that the upper stream participants have complete information of the market demand process. Then we quantify the bullwhip produced by the system, together with the amplification ratios of the variance of the net inventory levels. Our analysis reveals that the level of the supply chain has no impact upon the bullwhip effect, rather bullwhip is determined by the accumulated lead-time from the customer and the local replenishment lead-time. We also find that the conditional variance of the forecast error over the lead-time is identical to the variance of the net inventory levels and that the net inventory variance is dominated by the local replenishment lead-time.

Omega, 34, 344-358