Analysis of the impact of price-sensitivity factors on the returns policy in coordinating supply chain

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Z. Yao
  • Stephen C.H. Leung
  • K. K. Lai

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-282
Journal / PublicationEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2008


This paper analyzes the impact of price-sensitivity factors on characteristics of returns policy contracts in a single-period product supply chain. The contract considers stochastic and price-dependent demand. We present an analytical model and then use numerical methods with the Stackelberg game to identify the contract properties. We numerically show that a returns policy indeed improves supply chain performance. However, the benefits earned from the returns policy, under price-sensitive and variable demand, are different for different supply chain partners. First, when price-sensitivity is high, profit of the manufacturer decreases with increase in demand variability. Second, when price-sensitivity is sufficiently high and demand variability increases, the manufacturer has to surrender part of the profits to the retailer, in order to continue sales. However, even after surrendering part of the profits to the retailer, the manufacturer still earns profits that are higher than those available in a wholesale price contract. Last, from the perspective of division of channel profits, the retailer is always worse off in case of returns policies than in a wholesale price contract. Therefore, to apply this form of incentive in practice, managements should consider the impact of price-sensitivity on the returns policy and its performance. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Buy-back, Pricing, Returns policy, Single-period inventory model, Supply chain coordination