Operations, Information and Decisions Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

1-2010

Publication Source

Management Science

Volume

56

Issue

1

Start Page

202

Last Page

216

DOI

10.1287/mnsc.1090.1095

Abstract

Automobile manufacturers in the U.S. supply chain exhibit significant differences in their days of supply of finished vehicles (average inventory divided by average daily sales rate). For example, from 1995 to 2004, Toyota consistently carried approximately 30 fewer days of supply than General Motors. This suggests that Toyota’s well-documented advantage in manufacturing efficiency, product design, and upstream supply chain management extends to their finished-goods inventory in their downstream supply chain from their assembly plants to their dealerships. Our objective in this research is to measure for this industry the effect of several factors on inventory holdings. We find that two factors, the number of dealerships in a manufacturer’s distribution network and a manufacturer’s production flexibility, explain essentially all of the difference in finished-goods inventory between Toyota and three other manufacturers: Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors.

Keywords

empirical, supply chain management, distribution, product variety, inventory theory, manufacturing flexibility

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Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.