Designing an Optimal Two-Bin Strategy for Selling Perishable Produce to Responsible and Mainstream Buyers

Li Ming Chen, Shu Jung Sunny Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Upstream produce vendors in supply chains are paying attention to the possibility of supplying goods to downstream buyers that strive to source responsibly. We explore a problem—the application of a two-bin strategy by vendors to sell produce to responsible buyers (RBs) and mainstream buyers (MBs). In this strategy, goods in the primary bin are supplied to an RB, which procures stable quantities of goods and provides fair procurement prices; goods in the secondary bin are supplied to MBs, which are price sensitive. We investigate a vendor's joint decisions regarding the primary bin replenishment quantity and selling price of goods in the secondary bin for short shelf life and long shelf life produce. For short shelf life produce, we formulate stylized newsvendorlike models and identify the vendor's optimal joint replenishment–price decisions, which are irrelevant to any surplus. For long shelf life produce, we formulate periodic-review dynamic programming models and characterize the solution structure of joint decisions, which depend on the surplus quantity in the secondary bin; the joint decisions are reduced by an increase in the surplus, and when surpluses become sufficiently large, the primary bin replenishment quantity is fixed. We numerically discover that the optimized primary bin replenishment quantity leads to an average profit improvement of 1.5% and that the optimized selling price in the secondary bin results in another 0.25% gain. Furthermore, relative to the sales of produce to only MBs, the supply of goods to an RB can at least double a vendor's profits.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Early online date3 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 May 2022


  • Biological system modeling
  • Business
  • Contracts
  • Inventory control
  • joint replenishment and price decisions
  • Mathematical models
  • Oils
  • Procurement
  • responsible operations
  • Safety
  • two-bin strategy

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