1. Introduction

One of the main decision-making problems faced by organizations is the supplier selection problem. How to select supply sources is a strategic decision for companies, since doing so successfully enables them to reduce their costs and improve profits [1]. Choosing a source of supply is one of the most critical activities of supply chain management, because a wrong choice can lead the supply chain as a whole to suffer losses and thus this would directly affect the performance of the organizations involved. On the other hand, appropriate decisions can reduce purchasing costs, decrease production lead time, increase customer satisfaction, and strengthen the competitiveness of organizations [2]. Companies frequently misunderstand the supplier selection problem as a single-criterion decision-making problem, taking into account only cost factors when making decisions. This approach is inefficient, since there are other quantitative and qualitative factors that should be considered. Tradeoffs between multiple and conflicting objectives have to be made in order to select the best supplier [3]. Several supplier selection problems are addressed in the literature as multiple criteria decision-making problems. Ho et al. [4] review the main MCDM approaches for supplier selection problems between 2000 and 2008. Chai et al. [5] provide a guide to studies on supplier selection with MCDM from 2009 to 2012 based on four aspects: decision problems, decision-makers, decision environments, and decision approaches. In this context, this article sets out to build a multicriteria decision model to solve a supplier selection problem in a food company by considering a purchasing manager’s preferences in order to select a source of supply for packaging material of a new product that the company is going to start manufacturing. Preference modeling is conducted through a compensatory approach, aided by the Flexible and Interactive Tradeoff method, FITradeoff [6]. The FITradeoff method was developed to elicit criteria weights within the scope of Multiattribute Value Theory [7] in a structured way, based on tradeoffs. The main feature of this new methodology compared to the traditional tradeoff elicitation procedure is that FITradeoff works with partial information about the DM’s preferences and thus it requires less cognitive effort from the DM during the elicitation process [6]. Partial information approaches for MCDM were mainly developed by the fact that the information required by traditional methods can be tedious and time-consuming [8], and the DM may not be willing to give information in the detailed way required [9]. There are several ways of dealing with partial information provided by the DM in the elicitation process. Dominance intensity methods consider the information given by DMs to run linear programming problems so as to build a pairwise dominance matrix and thus rank the alternatives based on incomplete information regarding criteria weights [10–12]. The FITradeoff method works based on the concept of potential optimality in order to choose the best alternative in a determined set of possible actions, based on tradeoff judgments given by DMs. FITradeoff improves the applicability of the traditional tradeoff procedure [6], providing an easier decision-making process.

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