• A multi-agent architecture for outsourcing SMEs manufacturing supply chain.

      Kumari, Sushma; Singh, Akshit; Mishra, Nishikant; Garza-Reyes, Jose Arturo; Aberystwyth University; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2015-01-31)
      In the present, global and competitive market customer's demands are very volatile. It is very difficult for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) to satisfy their customer with quality product in reasonable price. Large firms are spending huge amount of their budget in generating technology development. To cope with this competitive market, usually, SMEs concentrate on their core expertise and outsource some non-core items or activities. The outsourcing decision (when, what, whom) is very crucial for small-scale industries. Realizing this scenario, in this article, an automated self-adaptive multi-agent system has been proposed. The proposed system will help SMEs to take an appropriate decision to mitigate the uncertainty in supply chain. The developed system exploits the “Outsourcing of operations” feature by its agents to conclude the manufacturing processes faster and reduce the idle time of certain machines with less human intervention. The communication protocol for agents has been described to give an insight of their communication. It was explained how various agents like outsourcing, material planning and supplier selection will come into action at different stages and take appropriate outsourcing decisions. Therefore, this multi-agent architecture will facilitate small scale manufacturing industries to execute their manufacturing processes and complex logistics issues efficiently. The execution of proposed architecture has been described in the simulated case study.