Globalization of the economy, rapid changes in legislations and technologies, and increasing customer expectations in terms of costs and services put a premium on the ability of manufacturing companies to quickly and effectively re-engineer their supply chains. This project focuses on the development of a multi-agent simulation framework for supply chain modeling and analysis. This framework aims at providing support for the quantitative analysis of emerging supply chain management practices (e.g., exchange of Available-To-Promise information, new buyer-supplier relationships). It also aims at providing a platform for rapidly developing customized decision support tools to help with supply chain configuration decisions (e.g., where to locate new manufacturing and/or distribution facilities, which supplier or set of suppliers to rely on) and to study the benefits of different supply chain coordination policies (e.g., re-ordering policies, information exchange policies).
An initial testbed has been developed to study tradeoffs associated with the exchange of Available-To-Promise capacity information between manufacturers and their suppliers. A subset of concepts from this framework has also influenced the development of IBM's BPMAT supply chain re-engineering tool, a proprietary tool used by IBM to re-engineer its supply chains and support IBM consultants working on outside supply chain re-engineering projects.