This book lays the foundations for quality modeling and analysis in
the context of supply chains through a synthesis of the economics,
operations management, as well as operations research/management
science literature on quality. The reality of today's supply chain
networks, given their global reach from sourcing locations to
points of demand, is further challenged by such issues as the
growth in outsourcing as well as the information asymmetry
associated with what producers know about the quality of their
products and what consumers know. Although much of the related
literature has focused on the micro aspects of supply chain
networks, considering two or three decision-makers, it is essential
to capture the scale of supply chain networks in a holistic manner
that occurs in practice in order to be able to evaluate and analyze
the competition and the impacts on supply chain quality in a
quantifiable manner. This volume provides an overview of the
fundamental methodologies utilized in this book, including
optimization theory, game theory, variational inequality theory,
and projected dynamical systems theory. It then focuses on major
issues in today's supply chains with respect to quality, beginning
with information asymmetry, followed by product differentiation and
branding, the outsourcing of production, from components to final
products, to quality in freight service provision. The book is
filled with numerous real-life examples in order to emphasize the
generality and pragmatism of the models and tools. The novelty of
the framework lies in a network economics perspective through which
the authors identify the underlying network structure of the
various supply chains, coupled with the behavior of the
decision-makers, ranging from suppliers and manufacturers to
freight service providers. What is meant by quality is rigorously
defined and quantified. The authors explore the underlying dynamics
associated with the competitive processes along with the
equilibrium solutions. As appropriate, the supply chain
decision-makers compete in terms of quantity and quality, or in
price and quality. The relevance of the various models that are
developed to specific industrial sectors, including pharmaceuticals
and high technology products, is clearly made. Qualitative analyses
are provided, along with effective, and, easy to implement,
computational procedures. Finally, the impacts of policy
interventions, in the form of minimum quality standards, and their
ramifications, in terms of product prices, quality levels, as well
as profits are explored. The book is filled with many network
figures, graphs, and tables with data.
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