Title: Modelling workflows and collaboration in virtual supply chains with nested modular Petri nets

Authors: Qianli Xu, Xiao You, Lianfeng (Linda) Zhang, Jianxin (Roger) Jiao

Addresses: School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Division of Systems & Engineering Management, 50 Nanyang Avenue, 639798, Singapore. ' School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Division of Systems & Engineering Management, 50 Nanyang Avenue, 639798, Singapore. ' Department of Operations, Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Groningen, Landleven 5, P.O. Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands. ' The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, MARC 259, 813 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0405, USA

Abstract: Virtual supply chains (VSCs) focus on the development of supply chain network infrastructure in relation to the multitude of product offerings. Recognising the importance of VSCs in pursuing a global manufacturing strategy, many researchers have dedicated themselves to developing VSC models. However, existing VSC modelling formalisms are inadequate to capture the multiple workflows, thus enabling collaboration among supply chain partners. In response to the importance of VSC model development and the limitations of existing VSC models, this study proposes a modelling framework and a new formalism of nested modular Petri nets (NMPNs) to model workflows and collaboration among partners for VSC management. In the framework, an ontology-based semantic model is developed to capture the constituent elements and their relationships. In the NMPN formalism, a number of basic modules are developed as building blocks to design complex supply chains. The behaviours of the supply chain partners and the VSC as a whole are further analysed using various PN analysis techniques. An industrial case of the electric motors is reported to demonstrate the application of the NMPN formalism to develop VSC. It is concluded that the NMPN model facilitates information exchange and collaboration among supply chain partners.

Keywords: virtual supply chains; supply chain management; SCM; workflow management; modular Petri nets; ontology; supply chain collaboration; semantic modelling; electric motors; information sharing; information exchange.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCAT.2009.028045

International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, 2009 Vol.36 No.3/4, pp.208 - 232

Available online: 02 Sep 2009 *

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