This article presents a new concept for supporting electronic collaboration, operations, and relationships among trading partners in the value chain without hindering human autonomy. Although autonomous intelligent agents, or electronic robots (e-bots), can be used to inform this endeavor, the article advocates the development of e-sensors, i.e., software based units with capabilities beyond intelligent agent’s functionality. E-sensors are hardware-software capable of perceiving, reacting and learning from its interactive experience through the supply chain, rather than just searching for data and information through the network and reacting to it. E-sensors can help avoid the “bullwhip” effect. The article briefly reviews the related intelligent agent and supply chain literature and the technological gap between fields. It articulates a demand-driven, sense-and-response system for sustaining e-collaboration and e-business operations as well as monitoring products and processes. As a proof of concept, this research aimed a test solution at a single supply chain partner within one stage of the process.
Supply Chain Management In The E-Collaboration Context
SCM is the art and science of creating and accentuating synergistic relationships among the trading partners in supply and distribution channels with the common shared objective of delivering products and services to the ‘right customer’ at the ‘right time.’ (Vakharia, 2002)