Intensive competition in the market place has forced companies to respond more quickly to customer needs through faster product development and shorter delivery time. Increasing customer awareness and preferences have led to an unprecedented explosion in product variety. End customers give credit only to companies that are able to deliver products with excellent quality, and on time. However, the demand of customers for product variety, especially in the case of short life‐cycle products such as food, apparel, toys, and computers, makes it difficult for manufacturers and retailers to predict which particular variety of the products the markets will accept. To be effective in matching demand with supply, manufacturers and retailers need to collaborate in the supply chain.
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