Vakharia's research and areas of expertise include sustainability, channel selection, green product design, sourcing strategies in supply chains, managing supply chain disruptions, and the impact of legislative policies to regulate environmental impact.
Industry Expertise (2)
Areas of Expertise (6)
Information Systems and Operations Management
Supply Chain Management
Green Product Design
Media Appearances (3)
The pandemic brings supply chains out of the shadows and CSCOs into the spotlight
Supply Chain Dive online
Beyond the general public beginning to understand what supply chain does, boardrooms recognize how crucial the function is too. There's "more c-suite attention to the role," said Asoo J. Vakharia, director of the Supply Chain Management Center at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business. This happens after a major disruption to the supply chain, like due to a hurricane or earthquake, but the COVID-19 pandemic is different.
Why panic buying toilet paper is even worse than you think
Tampa Bay Times online
“They are going to have to figure out how are they going to react when the demand dampens a little bit,” said Asoo Vakharia, talking broadly about the industry, not specifically about Georgia-Pacific. Vakharia is the director of the Supply Chain Management Center in the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida.
Environmentalism as a marketing tool: Clearwater Beach nonprofit shows how
Tampa Bay Times online
Government bans are, by their nature, top-down policies. They may ruffle feathers, causing consumers and businesses alike to change long-established behaviors on a dime. But bans are effective at drastically reducing the use of certain products, said Asoo Vakharia, a University of Florida Warrington College of Business professor.
Product Decoys: A Supply Chain PerspectiveProduction and Operations Management
Quan Zheng, Xiajun Amy Pan, Asoo J Vakharia
2021 Conventional wisdom suggests that by including a decoy product in the choice set for consumers, a firm can drive consumers to select more profitable non-decoy products. Explanations offered to explain such outcomes are rooted in the psychology of consumer behavior. A scan of retail practice, however, indicates that decoys might also be included in a product assortment for economic reasons. For example, products with very low sales potential are often included in offerings by bricks-and-mortar and online retailers. This leads us to investigate and offer an alternative supply side explanation for the presence of decoy products in a supply chain. More specifically, we show that in a distribution channel with multiple asymmetric manufacturers and a single retailer, there exists the possibility of an equilibrium which includes a decoy product. Such an equilibrium is characterized by the retailer stocking positive quantities of products from a subset of low-cost manufacturers (active manufacturers) and negligible or even zero stock of a decoy product sourced from a higher cost manufacturer. The retailer includes a decoy product in the assortment since it helps to obtain better contractual terms from the active manufacturers. Recognizing this, upstream active manufacturers not only compete for market share but are also induced to cooperate (in setting wholesale prices) so as to ensure that the manufacturer of the decoy product is driven out of the market. We also find that the degree of product substitutability moderates which manufacturer's product is a decoy. Our findings provide theoretical support for industry practice as well as implications for retail assortment decisions.
Multidimensional Observational Learning in Social Networks: Theory and Experimental EvidenceInformation Systems Research
Liangfei Qiu, Arunima Chhikara, Asoo Vakharia
2021 The prevalence of consumers sharing their purchases on social media platforms (e.g., Instagram and Pinterest) and the use of this information by potential future consumers have substantial implications for online retailing. In this study, we examine how product characteristics and the type of information provider jointly impact purchase decisions in a social network setting. We first propose an analytical observational learning framework integrating the impact of product differentiation and social ties. Then, we use two experimental studies to validate our analytical results and provide additional insights. Our key findings are that the effect of learning from strangers is stronger for vertically differentiated products than for horizontally differentiated products. However, the effect of learning from friends does not depend on whether the underlying product is horizontally or vertically differentiated. What is more interesting is the nuanced role of social ties: For horizontally differentiated products, the effect of learning increases with the strength of social ties. In addition, contact-based tie strength is more important than structure-based tie strength in accelerating observational learning. These findings provide motivation for online retailers to generate alternative strategies for increasing product sales through social networks. For example, online retailers offering horizontally differentiated products have strong incentives to cooperate with social media platforms (e.g., Instagram and Pinterest) in encouraging customers to share their purchase information.
Common Retailer Channel Revisited: The Role of Supply Network SizeProduction and Operations Management
Quan Zheng, Xiajun Amy Pan, Asoo J Vakharia
2020 This study is motivated by the ubiquitous practical existence of common retailer distribution channels (e.g., a grocery store offering multiple brands of the same product). Demand interdependence (product substitutability) among various brands is critical and thus we investigate its impact on firms’ profits. Using an economic framework with manufacturers operating as Stackelberg leaders, our analysis reveals unique and substantive insights dependent on the underlying market demand structure, and in some cases, the extent of supply coverage. For the Spence–Dixit–Vives demand structure, we find that competing manufacturers prefer to offer brands with low levels of substitutability while retailer’s preferences are moderated by the interaction effect between the number of competing brands and level of product substitutability (essentially the retailer prefers high levels of substitutability when the number of brands is “small," and vice versa). For the Shubik–Levitan demand structure, manufacturers may prefer high or low levels of product substitutability depending on the extent of supply coverage while the retailer always prefers high levels of product substitutability. These findings offer useful prescriptions for category management and persuasive advertising.
Life-Cycle Approach to Environmental Innovation: Cost Structure, Advertising, and CompetitionDecision Sciences
Arda Yenipazarli, Asoo Vakharia, Ram Bala
2020 Using life-cycle assessment–based methods, products can be differentiated by the environmental performance/impact during their manufacturing and use life-cycle stages. Some products are reported to have higher environmental impact during the use stage, whereas for others, the environmental impact turns out to be higher during the manufacturing stage. In this article, we focus on those products in the former category, and consider a duopoly setting where profit-maximizing firms decide on their use-stage environmental innovation efforts, advertising efforts to disclose information on the manufacturing-stage environmental performance of their products, and production quantities. Use-stage environmental innovation not only improves the environmental performance of the product in use, but also increases the value of the product to end-consumers (e.g., through cost-of-use reduction). We examine two distinct cases where such innovation can be achieved through either an up-front capital investment or an increase in variable cost of production. Manufacturing-stage environmental performance of a product is typically not visible to end-consumers but could be communicated through advertising efforts. Two well-recognized advertising strategies—namely, combative advertising and constructive advertising—are analyzed as alternative information disclosure strategies. We show that when only symmetric strategies are followed by competing firms (i.e., when each firm matches its competitor's advertising approach), firms should always employ constructive advertising strategy to disclose information on the manufacturing-stage environmental performance of their products, and this result holds regardless of the environmental innovation cost structure. When asymmetric strategies are also an option, for marginal cost-intensive innovations, the equilibrium can be characterized by asymmetric advertising strategy choices of symmetric firms, whereas for development cost-intensive innovations, it is always characterized by symmetric advertising strategy choices. In this context, we advance understanding on when use-stage environmental innovation and manufacturing-stage environmental performance disclosure decisions can be the most effective economically to competing firms and examine their corresponding environmental consequences.
Coordination strategies and analysis of waste management supply chainJournal of Cleaner Production
Avinash Geda, Vashkar Ghosh, Gulver Karamemis, Asoo Vakharia
2020 There has been an increased awareness among consumers regarding sustainability, especially in regards to recycling of used products. Firms are actively incorporating recycled/recyclable content in their product design to capture these “green” consumers in addition to the traditional consumers. Post-consumption, the waste management firms (WMF) are responsible for collecting, sorting and reselling the recyclable portion of the products and they face the threat of reduced revenues due to increased use of recycled content upstream by the original equipment manufacturers (OEM). This results in discrepancies in the optimal recycled content decision as far as the integrated waste management supply chain is concerned. We provide solutions to reconcile such discrepancy and suggest couple of approaches - (i) Nash bargaining assuming the OEM and the WMF both hold some relative bargaining power, (ii) Central Planner’s approach with tax and subsidy mechanism as a coordination strategy. We compare the optimal results under both these methods and further extend our analysis to consider investments by the OEM and WMF. We find that the taxes on the OEMs increase with their optimal investment behavior and subsidies might increase or decrease when waste management firms optimally invest in the recycling of the post-consumption products.