Integrated procurement planning in multi-division firms

Anantaram Balakrishnan, Harihara Prasad Natarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


For large multi-division firms, coordinating procurement policies across multiple divisions to leverage volume discounts from suppliers based on firm-wide purchasing power can yield millions of dollars of savings in procurement costs. Coordinated procurement entails deciding which suppliers to use to meet each division's purchasing needs and sourcing preferences so as to minimize overall purchasing, logistics, and operational costs. Motivated by this tactical procurement planning problem facing a large industrial products manufacturer, we propose an integrated optimization model that simultaneously considers both firm-wide volume discounts and divisional ordering and inventory costs. To effectively solve this large-scale integer program, we develop and apply a tailored solution approach that exploits the problem structure to generate tight bounds. We identify several classes of valid inequalities to strengthen the linear programming relaxation, establish polyhedral properties of these inequalities, and develop both a cutting-plane method and a sequential rounding heuristic procedure. Extensive computational tests for realistic problems demonstrate that our integrated sourcing model and solution method are effective and can provide significant economic benefits. The integrated approach yields average savings of 7.5% in total procurement costs compared to autonomous divisional policies, and our algorithm generates near-optimal solutions (within 0.75% of optimality) within reasonable computational time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1795-1810
Number of pages16
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • cutting planes
  • multi-division firms
  • optimization
  • procurement
  • volume discounts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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