Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Doctor of Philosophy




Pun, Hubert

2nd Supervisor

Naoum-Sawaya, Joe

Joint Supervisor

3rd Supervisor

Zaric, Greg



In this dissertation, we explore the intricate dynamics of supplier relationships and strategic decision-making within the realm of Operations Management, focusing on the critical aspects of supply chain management. The research consists of three papers, each offering unique insights into supplier dynamics and their implications for manufacturers and businesses.

The first paper presents a robust framework for joint learning of consumer preferences and market segmentation. Leveraging ideas from machine learning and mathematical programming, this framework efficiently segments the customer base and accurately learns preferences without compromising consumer privacy. By optimizing assortment decisions, this approach maximizes profits and offers superior prediction accuracy, enhancing marketing strategies in dynamic market scenarios.

The second paper delves into the pressing issue of supplier copycatting, where suppliers imitate original products, posing challenges to manufacturers and suppliers worldwide. Employing a game-theoretic approach, the research analyzes strategic responses of manufacturers and suppliers to cope with this emerging trend. The findings reveal the impacts of quality improvements and potential shifts in outsourcing decisions, providing valuable insights for managing supplier relationships and mitigating copycatting risks.

The third paper investigates the ramifications of supplier encroachment, as upstream suppliers venture into direct sales and compete with manufacturers. Through a two-period game-theoretic model, the research examines optimal outsourcing strategies for manufacturers while considering the potential repercussions faced by encroaching suppliers. This comprehensive analysis sheds light on the dynamics of supplier- manufacturer collaborations, highlighting the importance of trust and commitment in maintaining successful partnerships.

Overall, this dissertation contributes valuable and comprehensive insights to the field of Operations Management. Employing a multi-method approach, we delve into supplier dynamics and decision-making, offering robust strategies and solutions to enhance supply chain efficiency and competitiveness. By addressing challenges such as consumer preference learning, supplier copycatting, and supplier encroachment, this research contributes to the growing body of knowledge in Operations Management and provides actionable guidance for businesses to thrive in the dynamic supply chain environments.

Summary for Lay Audience

Picture a world where every choice you make as a consumer is a piece of a larger puzzle, revealing your preferences and shaping the products you encounter. In the intricate realm of supply chains, my research aims to decode these complexities, optimizing strategies that businesses employ to offer products tailored to your desires.

My exploration commences with understanding consumer preferences while valuing your privacy. Employing innovative techniques from machine learning and mathematical programming, my framework deciphers your past choices, helping businesses anticipate your needs without compromising your personal information.

In a competitive marketplace, the phenomenon of supplier copycatting poses a challenge. Imagine a strategic battle where businesses and suppliers respond to imitative maneuvers. By delving into the strategies employed by manufacturers and suppliers, my work reveals how quality improvements and calculated responses can safeguard businesses against these challenges.

Now, envision the dynamics of supplier relationships. Suppliers, often key allies, can transform into competitors, disrupting the traditional supply chain landscape. Employing game theory, I delve into this intriguing phenomenon, where mathematical models unveil how these shifts impact businesses' strategic decisions, influencing outsourcing and overall success.

In summary, my research magnifies the inner workings of business decisions, from understanding your preferences ethically, to countering market challenges and deciphering supplier dynamics. This journey culminates in strategies that empower businesses to navigate complexities, ensuring that your shopping experience is meticulously orchestrated, and products on shelves are a result of well-informed, strategic decisions.

By unraveling these intricate threads, my research echoes beyond the academic realm, offering practical insights for businesses to thrive and consumers to enjoy products that resonate with their desires. In an era of evolving market dynamics, my work serves as a guiding light, enhancing the art and science of supply chain management, one strategic decision at a time.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.