The bullwhip effect in supply chain Reflections after a Decade
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A decade has passed since the publication of the two seminal papers by Lee, Padmanabhan and Whang (1997) that describes the “bullwhip effect” in supply chains and characterizes its underlying causes. The bullwhip phenomenon is observed in supply chains where the decisions at the subsequent stages of the supply chain are made greedily based on local information, rather than through coordination based on global information on the state of the whole chain. The first consequence of this information distortion is higher variance in purchasing quantities compared to sales quantities at a particular supply chain stage. The second consequence is increasingly higher variance in order quantities and inventory levels in the upstream stages compared to their downstream stages (buyers). In this paper, we survey a decade of literature on the bullwhip effect and present the key insights reported by researchers and practitioners. We also present our reflections and share our vision of possible future .