Impact of introducing make-to-order options in a make-to-stock environment
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Firms engaged in consumer product sales often implement a strict make-to-stock approach, applying a single price to all customers. In such systems, customers can get the product at the given price upon availability on the shelf. However, consumers can often tolerate a delay between order placement and demand satisfaction under a price discount. Recognizing this phenomenon, a supplier may consider offering a menu of delivery-price options to consumers, where longer delay-time options imply lower prices. Demands from customers willing to wait provide advance demand information to the supplier. This paper studies strategies to exploit this additional information to improve profitability and service levels. Primarily assuming that delivery times are set exogenously, we determine optimal prices and stock levels under the new delayed demand satisfaction options. In addition, we develop analytical models to characterize the system performance gains under the new demand fulfillment option. 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.