Optimal pricing, EOL (end of life) warranty, and spare parts manufacturing strategy amid product transition

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We study firm's strategy to determine its product price and warranty period, and plan the spare parts manufacturing so as to maximize its profit and at the same time to fulfill its commitment to providing the customer with the key part continuously over the relevant decision time horizon, i.e., the product's life cycle plus its EOL service (warranty) period. To examine the research question, we develop and solve a two-stage optimal control theory model. From the numerical analysis, we infer as follows. It is not always true that the longer the EOL warranty period, the better for the company's profitability, implying there exists an optimal EOL warranty period that balances all the relevant forces like market demand and cost structures. The relationship between optimal EOL warranty period and failure rate (defect rate) is concave: when the defect rate is moderate, the company has to increase its EOL warranty period as the defect rate increases so as to compensate for the deteriorating quality; but, when the defect rate is beyond a threshold level, the company needs to curtail its EOL warranty commitment as the defect rate increases in order to avoid excessive cost to service the failed parts. By depicting key dynamics in this managerial problem, this paper sheds light on how to make decision for optimal pricing and warranty when the product life cycle is finite and the company is obliged to provide after-sales services to customers for an extended period of time after the current product is no longer produced. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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