Feedback Stackelberg Games for Dynamic Supply Chains with Cost Learning
We consider a decentralized two-period supply chain in which a manufacturer produces a product with benefits of cost learning, and sells it through a retailer facing a price-dependent demand. The manufacturer’s second-period production cost declines linearly in the first-period production, but with a random learning rate. The manufacturer may or may not have the inventory carryover option. We formulate the resulting problems as two-period Stackelberg games and obtain their feedback equilibrium solutions explicitly. We then examine the impact of mean learning rate and learning rate variability on the pricing strategies of the channel members, on the manufacturer’s production decisions, and on the retailer’s procurement decisions. We show that as the mean learning rate or the learning rate variability increases, the traditional double marginalization problem becomes more severe, leading to greater efficiency loss in the channel. We obtain revenue sharing contracts that can coordinate the dynamic supply chain. In particular, when the manufacturer may hold inventory, we identify two major drivers for inventory carryover: market growth and learning rate variability. Finally, we demonstrate the robustness of our results by examining a model in which cost learning takes place continuously.