Date of this Version
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT, VOL. 61, NO. 1, FEBRUARY 2014
This paper considers a sourcing problem faced by a manufacturer who outsources the manufacturing of a product to one of several competing suppliers, whose cost and quality capabilities are unknown. We consider a two-stage sourcing process in which the first stage is the qualification stage, while the second stage is the supplier selection stage. In the first stage, the manufacturer exerts effort to learn about the quality level of each of the suppliers and then must determine the set of qualified suppliers, subject to some tolerance for error. In the second stage, the manufacturer runs a price-only procurement auction, in which the qualified suppliers compete for the manufacturer’s business.We model this two-stage sourcing process with the goal of obtaining insights into manufacturer’s optimal decisions. We seek to determine the optimal qualification standard, the optimal amount of effort to be exerted in the qualification process and the appropriate tolerance for error in the qualification process, and to understand the interactions between these decision variables. We are particularly interested in understanding how the manufacturer can design the process to 1) ensure the firm only sources from qualified suppliers and 2) encourage competition among the suppliers during supplier selection.
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