Despite our current technological capabilities, the dynamics of the world market make collaboration and coordination amongst various players in the supply chain difficult. In many cases, 

Agent Based SCM

Multi agent-based SCM systems allow single entities within the chain to collaborate and adapt to changes in the business environment.

unpredictable events cannot be dealt with locally (i.e. within the scope of a single supply chain “agent”), requiring several agents to coordinate in order to revise plans, schedules or decisions. On top of this, businesses must constantly deal with the threat of information overload. Technology is helping these businesses sort the relevant information from the irrelevant.

Discovering ways to deal with information overload is now becoming a thing of the past. Some of the brightest minds within the supply chain profession are developing methods for technology to better manage change and evolution in the broad distribution networks that make up the typical (yet complex) supply chain. The next generation of SCM will likely deal with the usage of machine learning concepts to treat supply chain activities. These machines must have the capability to learn to change and be able to adapt to new ways of doing business as a flexible information system. They must also have the vision to recognize the need for change and the direction they must take to get there.

The Use of Agents in ITEdit

Agent-based SCMs possess the capability to communicate and interact with one another, which allows these systems to collectively harness their "intelligence". Prior to discussing the specifics of agent-based SCMs, it would be beneficial to define what an agent is. For technological purposes, "an agent is a computer system that is situated in some environment, and that is capable of autonomous action in this environment in order to meet its design objectives", according to Vikas Misra, M.I. Khan and U.K. Singh, authors of Supply Chain Management Systems: Architecture, Design and Vision. These agents have a predetermined set of goals and are given the ability to perform actions to accomplish these goals. Taking this one step further, intelligent agents have been given the ability to act autonomously and are environmentally aware. Think of these supply chain management systems as intelligent computer systems that have the ability to apply reasoning to the environment in order to generate plans and react to changes in an organization’s landscape. They can also interact with other agents in open networks to collectively achieve goals; it’s almost as if these intelligent software systems have the ability to come together and brainstorm in order to solve problems related to sourcing, demand, production, etc. Edit

Uses and Benefits of Multi Agent-Based SCMsEdit

When agent-based SCMs are utilized, they can help to resolve common issues present within the supply chain, such as the bullwhip effect. The video included in this section helps to explain this supply chain phenomenon. When multiple agents are synchronized within the supply chain, they can communicate with one another and help to alleviate demand and forecasting fluctuations that create this problem. According to Misra, Khan and Singh, "there are a wide range of application domains that are making use of agent-based systems: enterprise applications; B2B applications; process control; personal agents; information management tasks (searching for information, information filtering, information monitoring, data source mediation, interface agents/personal assistants)". Although this technological concept has only been around for the last decade, it is gaining quick popularity amongst industries that rely heavily on complex supply chain management systems to accomplish their goals.

Excerpt from "Supply Chain Master Prof

Excerpt from "Supply Chain Master Prof. Hau Lee"