Year

2006

Degree Name

Masters by Research

Department

School of Economics and Information Systems - Faculty of Commerce

Abstract

A supply chain is a worldwide network of suppliers, factories, warehouses, distribution centers and retailers through which raw materials are acquired, transformed and delivered to customers. Modern supply chain management is moving away from vertically integrated companies that control all aspects of production and distribution toward networks of independent suppliers and distributors. Nowadays, supply chain collaboration has become the cornerstone of high performance in supply chain management. A key step in this collaboration process is to share information among the supply chain partners. However, current supply chain collaboration mainly focuses on the collaboration between two companies in a supply chain instead of in the whole system due to the limitation of the current modeling method and capabilities of current information systems. The multi-agent approach is a promising modeling method that can be used to design and develop supply chain management system to facilitate supply chain system-wide collaborative management. The aim is to investigate information sharing as a basic supply chain collaboration strategy through the application of the multi-agent approach to model and simulate the supply chain. This research presents a proposed conceptual framework of multi-agent based collaborative supply chain management system. The framework consists of four types of agents that include function, communication, coordination, and monitoring agents. The proposed framework illustrates the application of multi-agent techniques to integrate disparate supply chain information systems, to facilitate information sharing in the supply network, to support collaborative supply chain planning and to coordinate problem solving. A multi-agent based supply chain prototype is developed to investigate the impacts of information sharing on supply chain performance. Four scenarios have been investigated to measure the performance of both the inventory cost and customer service levels. The simulation results show that information sharing as a basic supply chain collaboration strategy can reduce the bullwhip effect and result in lower amounts of the inventory holding, but it leads to higher stock-outs.

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