Find us on Facebook Find us on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Business Analytics Seminars

The seminars are on Fridays at 11am in Room 4050, Abercrombie Building (H70), unless otherwise specified.

The seminar organiser is Dr Andrey Vasnev.

26th Feb 2016 - 11:00 am

Venue: Room 5040 Business School Abercrombie Bldg H70

Speaker: Professor Eddie Anderson, Discipline of Business Analytics; Business School; The University of Sydney

Title: Releasiing Buyer Information in Procurement Auctions with Price and Quality Variables

We model a situation in which a single firm evaluates competing suppliers and selects just one. Suppliers submit bids involving both price and quality variables. The buyer makes a choice determined by a weighted scoring system, but the suppliers do not have full information about this - for example the supplier's bid may be scored on “reliability” but the supplier is unable in advance to be sure of the exact score that will be awarded. We consider a model in which there is supplier uncertainty on the scores that will be given, but the weights that the buyer assigns to different variables are known. We investigate the amount of information that the buyer should release prior to the auction, and demonstrate that it is beneficial not to reveal all information, so that the suppliers continue to be uncertain about their final scores.

11th Mar 2016 - 11:00 am

Venue: Room 5040 Business School Abercrombie Bldg H70

Speaker: Dr Erick Li, Discipline of Business Analytics; Business School; The University of Sydney

Title: Robust Retail Supply Chain Management

Brightstar is the largest distributor of telecommunication devices in Australia. Like many other firms, Brightstar faces some challenges in allocating inventory to each store in its supply chain and designing compensation contracts for each store. The obstacles include stock-out substitution and incomplete information regarding the demand distributions.


In the first part of the presentation, I propose a multi-product inventory model with a max-min objective and stock-out substitution. There are many practical obstacles that limit the distributor’s ability to exactly characterize the demand distributions. With limited information regarding the demand distributions, the distributor may apply the max-min decision rule that maximises the worst-case expected profit. A max-min decision rule is also appealing when firms start to embrace an economy that is slowing down. On the other hand, stock-out substitution occurs when a customer finds his/her first choice runs out of stock and seeks a second choice as substitute. I formulate a two-stage optimisation model to identify the optimal max-min inventory levels. In addition, I also propose a heuristic and investigate its effectiveness.


In the second part of the presentation, I investigate how to design the sales force compensation contract and determine the inventory level in a single-product model. The distributor does not possess complete information regarding the promotion methods that the store can undertake to influence the demand but wishes to maximize the worst-case expected profit. I demonstrate that a linear compensation contract is optimal in this circumstance. After that, I describe how to jointly optimise the linear commission rate and inventory level.