Reducing bullwhip effect in supply chains using control variates

L.W. Bai, H.C. Liu, K.L. Tsui, Hengqing Ye

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The bullwhip effect refers to the phenomenon where orders to the supplier tend to have a larger variance than sales to the buyer, and the distortion propagates as one moves upstream in an amplified form. The problem of variance propagation and amplification can be significant for even the existing optimal inventory policies. In this paper, we propose a control variate technique for reducing the bullwhip effect, or more generally the demand variability in supply chains. The method is effective and easy to implement in practical management and supply chain systems. The idea is to stabilize the inventory control policy to dampen the effect of propagation by imposing a correlated control variate to the original order. The proposed method is applied to stabilize the inventory policy and rectify the bullwhip effect discussed in Lee et al. [15] and Chen et al. [7, 8]. It shows that the method may lead to a system-wide optimal performance within a class of stabilizing policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-241
Number of pages21
JournalQuality technology & quantitative management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Bullwhip effect
  • Control variates
  • Supply chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Industrial relations
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Reducing bullwhip effect in supply chains using control variates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this