Efficient replenishment in the distribution channel Academic Article uri icon


  • Efficient replenishment (ER), a business process that involves the reduction of order cost to facilitate deliveries of goods from the manufacturer to the retailer, is becoming increasingly important in distribution channel management. While a well-executed ER program is expected to lower total channel costs and increase channel profit, very little is known about how this incremental channel profit is distributed between the manufacturer and the retailer and how it varies across the two common channel relationship structures, retailer price leadership and manufacturer price leadership. In this paper, we develop the conditions under which the manufacturer and the retailer gain more or less from the adoption of ER based on a game theoretic channel model of bilateral monopoly under the two channel relationship structures. We develop analytic results on the impact of ER on purchase quantity, price and the distribution of profits in three cases, namely, (1) when only the retailer adopts ER, (2) when both the manufacturer and the retailer adopt ER, and (3) when the manufacturer and the retailer are vertically integrated in the distribution channel, which adopts ER. The results, which can be generalized for all demand functions, show that the manufacturer benefits from the retailer's adoption of ER only when the manufacturer's holding cost relative to the retailer's is sufficiently large, relative to its order cost relative to the retailer's. By adopting ER, the retailer gains more than what the manufacturer gains even if the manufacturer is the price leader. Both the parties are likely to gain more if they both adopt ER than if only the retailer adopts ER. The incremental channel profit due to the retailer's ER adoption is highest in a vertically integrated distribution channel and is greater in a retailer-led channel relationship than in a manufacturer-led relationship. © 2007 New York University.

author list (cited authors)

  • Dong, Y., Shankar, V., & Dresner, M.

citation count

  • 27

publication date

  • August 2007