Journal Articles

Inventory Record Inaccuracy, Double Marginalization and RFID Adoption

2007, Production and Operations Management

H. Sebastian Heese


Most retailers suffer from substantial discrepancies between inventory quantities recorded in the system and stocks truly available to customers. Promising full inventory transparency, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has often been suggested as a remedy to the problem. We consider inventory record inaccuracy in a supply chain model, where a Stackelberg manufacturer sets the wholesale price and a retailer determines how much to stock for sale to customers. We first analyze the impact of inventory record inaccuracy on optimal stocking decisions and profits. By contrasting optimal decisions in a decentralized supply chain with those in an integrated supply chain, we find that inventory record inaccuracy exacerbates the inefficiencies resulting from double marginalization in decentralized supply chains. Assuming RFID technology can eliminate the problem of inventory record inaccuracy, we determine the cost thresholds at which RFID adoption becomes profitable. We show that a decentralized supply chain benefits more from RFID technology, such that RFID adoption improves supply chain coordination.


Heese, H. S. (2007), "Inventory Record Inaccuracy, Double Marginalization and RFID Adoption," Production and Operations Management, Vol. 16, No. 5, pp. 542-553.