Partial Demand Information and Commitment in Dynamic Transportation Procurement

Pol Boada-Collado*, Sunil Chopra, Karen Smilowitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This paper analyzes a decision process of planning transportation procurement for a distribution lane given limited information regarding future demand for transportation services and a specified commitment horizon for procurement contracts. In contrast to variants in which either full demand information or no demand information is known over the planning horizon, our work considers the value of demand visibility for a short horizon in the future (i.e., the value of partial information). Our work also considers a commitment horizon that is much shorter than the planning horizon. We show that the availability of partial information fundamentally changes the contracting policies in the presence of such commitment horizons, and if used optimally, this information can be highly valuable. Partial visibility of demand can increase the willingness of the decision maker to commit to contracts and expand the range of capacity levels selected in settings where the capacity level of a contract is a decision variable. We also identify settings in which the value of partial information is negligible, reducing the incentive of managers to acquire additional demand information for future periods. Finally, we show that with seasonal demand, information is leveraged by properly coordinating with expected demand shocks (e.g., Black Friday) using tailored strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-605
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Capacity management
  • Commitment
  • Demand visibility
  • Dynamic decision processes
  • Transportation procurement
  • Value of information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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