Sensors-to-suppliers modeling of manufacturing enterprises

Rushabh Mehta, Nazrul Shaikh, Vamsi Salaka, Vittal Prabhu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Business simulations and games have been very effective in providing insight in complex scenarios. In supply chain management, concepts like bullwhip effect have been successfully explained by popular simulations like the MIT beer game. Active role-playing and iterative decision-making helps in making the participants understand the underlying dynamics and find innovative ways of improving the performance. The scenarios tend to be rich enough to have a realistic feel and provide insights by often producing results that are counter intuitive. The challenge for designers of simulation tools is to provide realistic scenarios that can easily be configured and simulated for particular businesses. The sensors-to-suppliers project (S2S) aims at providing a rich and easily configurable simulation tool for businesses to model and play scenarios that are specific to their business and gain insights in quick time. The S2S simulation tool contains a rich library of components that can be configured to represent a particular business. The components support different policies and the user controls decision-making rules and the quantitative variables. Apart from that the tool provides an interactive and intuitive user interface for model development and performance analysis. The objective of the tool is to capture the business model as quickly as possible and is as much detail as desired by the user. Once the business model is captured, the model can be simulated and desired metrics can be analyzed. The user can then iteratively change policies and quantitative variables of the model, add and remove components to gain insights in the model under different scenarios. The S2S framework provides the required infrastructure to build, model and simulate business components. The simulation architecture is loosely based on the SWARM architecture that is designed to simulate complex biological and economic systems. S2S is implemented in object oriented programming language on the Microsoft net platform. The simulation is executed by having objects, representing business components interact with each other using the infrastructure provided by the S2S framework components. Using the development interface, business models can be created, modified, saved and merged. The business model is build by creating objects from the components library. The components include factory, market, supplier, planning unit, purchasing unit, shipping unit, bill-of-materials, workstations, buffers etc. A case study representing a wood manufacturing supply chain is build using S2S components and its performance is studied and compared under different policies and variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 2004
EventIIE Annual Conference and Exhibition 2004 - Houston, TX, United States
Duration: May 15 2004May 19 2004


OtherIIE Annual Conference and Exhibition 2004
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityHouston, TX

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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