This chapter presents a Web-enabled, agent-based information system model to support mass-customized markets. We present a distributed, real-time, Java-based, mobile intelligent information system that interfaces with firms’ existing IT infrastructures, follows a build-to-order production strategy, and integrates order-entry with supply chain, manufacturing, and product delivery systems. The model provides end-to-end visibility across the entire supply chain, allows for a collaborative and synchronized production system, and supports an event-based manufacturing environment. The system introduces four general-purpose intelligent agents to support the entire mass customization process. The adoption of this approach by a semiconductor manufacturing firm resulted in reductions in product lead time (by half), buffer inventory (from five to two weeks), and manual transactions (by 80%). Similarly, the adoption by a leading automotive manufacturer resulted in a 51% total inventory reduction while increasing plant utilization by 30%. These results verify that the successful adoption of this system can reduce inventory and logistic costs, improve delivery performance, increase manufacturing facilities utilization, and provide a higher overall profitability.
Complete Chapter List
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