Supply chains have an inherently dynamic character, actors are operating in parallel, and influence each other and change in time. Many modeling techniques do not perform well enough when describing and designing chaotic and dynamic environments like supply chains. Simulation can be seen as an approach, with help of modeling techniques, to overcome these problems.
Within supply chains, there was and is, a shift from traditional (rigid) supply chains towards a more dynamic situation. Eye-catching developments are:
- a shift from a linear supply chain towards a supply chain with parallel processes;
- the availability of information (information for orders, stock, production processes, et cetera) beyond the next partner in the chain;
- availability of real-time information;
- a shift from stable long-term contracts towards a new contract, perhaps with different actors involved, for every product.
Due to these developments, there was and is a need apparent for new and different types of simulation models for demonstration and learning integrated into decision making tools. In a joint research project of the section of Systems Engineering and the Robert H. Smith School of Business, Corver and van der Hee developed an object model for supply chains [Corver et al, 2002], which is used as the basis for the games and simulations shown here.
Corver, A., A. Verbraeck, E. Valentin, S. Boyson, T. Corsi; A Supply chain Reference Model - An object oriented model for simulation and proof of concept in eM-plant. Internal report, Technische Universiteit Delft, Faculteit TBM, Delft, The Netherlands, 2002, 92 p.