Abstract for: Designing and Managing the Virtual Enterprise - A Breakthrough Application for System Dynamics Using SimBLOX and scmBLOX
Almost everything we use today is manufactured by a virtual enterprise composed of hundreds of companies. These large distributed systems have led to numerous problems and challenges across multiple industries. The need is great for an analytical technique to examine the performance of a large-scale virtual enterprise. System Dynamics has been successfully used to model these large enterprises and assess the impacts on system behavior of changes in demand and various parameters. These large-scale enterprise models, however, are complex and time consuming to build and are difficult to restructure. For enterprise management, the ability to reconfigure the network of companies in response to external forces is critical, and models of the enterprise must have similar flexibility and rapid re-configurability. Using System Dynamics agent models of factories, distribution centers and customers, scmBLOX uses drag and drop features that enable fast construction of enterprise models and rapid assessments of alternative enterprise structures. Replacement of a make-to-stock factory for a make-to-order factory or the addition or elimination of distribution centers can be quickly evaluated. On-going research is focusing on the interplay between enterprise structure and performance, the development of additional agent models and new features for current agent models, and the assessment of optimization strategies such as push-pull boundaries within the global virtual enterprise.