Discussion paper // Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 1328
The importance of the reuse of components and materials from post-consumer products has been widely recognized in the literature and in practice. In this paper, we address the problem of choosing the appropriate channel structure for the recollection of post-consumer products from customers. Specifically, we consider a manufacturer who has three options for collecting such products: (a) she can undertake the recollection effort herself, (b) she can provide suitable incentives to an existing retailer (who already has a distribution channel) to undertake the recollection effort, and (c) she can subcontract the recollection effort to a third party. Based on our observations in the industry, we model the three options described above as decentralized decision-making systems with the manufacturer being the Stackelberg leader. When considering decentralized channels, we find that ceteris paribus, agencies that are closer to the customer, e.g. retailers, are the most effective undertakers of the recollection effort for the manufacturer. Coordination mechanisms are then characterized which enable the different players to achieve profits that are equivalent to the profits in a coordinated channel.