Transchel, Sandra, Saurabh Bansal and Mrinmay Deb

Managing production of high-tech products with high production quality variability

International Journal of Production Research, 54 (6): 1707-1689, (2016).

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1080/00207543.2015.1053579

Abstract: We consider production systems in technology industries where output quality of a single production run has a large variance. Firms operating such systems classify products into different quality bins and sell units in one bin at the same tagged quality level and the same price. Consumers have heterogeneous quality preferences and choose that quality that maximises their net utility. We examine firms’ assortment, production and pricing problem. We present a three-stage solution procedure that optimises the production quantity, quality specification and number of bins. In that regard, we show that for a manufacturing technology with known quality distribution and known distribution of customers’ quality preference, the optimal assortment and production quantity are set such that on average, the demand of each bin is exactly fulfilled. We examine the impact of an improved manufacturing technology, variation in consumer preferences and changing price premium on the optimal assortment, lot size, market share, yield loss and the overall profitability. We further show that when the quality distribution of the manufacturing process is unknown, downward substitution leads to product offering of higher quality and higher prices. Finally, we discuss practical considerations for pricing, technology and optimal product offerings, and explain the proliferation of bins witnessed in the last decade in the processor industry.

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