Supplier competition and its impact on firm[U+05F3]s sourcing strategy

Lian Qi, Jim Junmin Shi, Xiaowei Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Most research on firms' sourcing strategies assumes that wholesale prices and reliability of suppliers are exogenous. It is of our interest to study suppliers[U+05F3] competition on both wholesale price and reliability and firms[U+05F3] corresponding optimal sourcing strategy under complete information. In particular, we study a problem in which a firm procures a single product from two suppliers, taking into account suppliers[U+05F3] price and reliability differences. This motivates the suppliers to compete on these two factors. We investigate the equilibria of this supplier game and the firm[U+05F3]s corresponding sourcing decisions. Our study shows that suppliers[U+05F3] reliability often plays a more important role than wholesale price in supplier competition and that maintaining high reliability and a high wholesale price is the ideal strategy for suppliers if multiple options exist. The conventional wisdom implies that low supply reliability and high demand uncertainty motivate dual-sourcing. We notice that when the suppliers[U+05F3] shared market/transportation network is often disrupted and demand uncertainty is high, suppliers[U+05F3] competition on both price and reliability may render the sole-sourcing strategy to be optimal in some cases that depend on the format of suppliers[U+05F3] cost functions. Moreover, numerical study shows that when the cost or vulnerability (to market disruptions) of one supplier increases, its profit and that of the firm may not necessarily decrease under supplier competition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-110
Number of pages20
JournalOmega (United Kingdom)
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


  • Sourcing
  • Supplier competition
  • Supplier reliability


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