When to Deploy Test Auctions in Sourcing

Beil, D R, Chen, Q, Duenyas, I and See, B D (2018) When to Deploy Test Auctions in Sourcing. Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, 20 (2). pp. 232-248. ISSN 1523-4614 OPEN ACCESS


We investigate when a buyer seeking to procure multiple units of an input may find it advantageous to run a “test auction” in which she has incumbent suppliers bid on a portion of the desired units. The test auction reveals incumbent supplier cost information that helps the buyer determine how many entrants (if any) to recruit at a cost prior to awarding the remaining units. The optimal number of entrant suppliers to recruit follows a threshold policy that is monotonic in the test auction’s clearing price unless the underlying supplier cost distribution is not regular. When setting her reserve price in the test auction, the buyer uses supplier recruitment as her “outside option”: if the reserve price is not met in the test auction, the buyer recruits new suppliers and runs a second auction. We compare the attractiveness of the test auction procedure relative to the more conventional procedure in which the buyer auctions off her entire demand in one auction. Since the buyer can choose ex ante which procedure to use, we propose using whichever has lower ex ante total (purchase plus recruitment) cost. Finally, using an optimal mechanism analysis, we find a lower bound on the buyer’s cost, and use that cost as a benchmark to show that our proposed sourcing strategy performs well given its ease of implementation.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Management Science and Operations
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© 2018 INFORMS

Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2018 16:02
Date of first compliant deposit: 12 Feb 2021
Subjects: Auctioneering
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2024 01:40
URI: https://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/1021

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