Hybrid SD/DES Simulation for Supply Chain Analysis

Hybrid SD/DES Simulation for Supply Chain Analysis

Jaime A. Palma-Mendoza
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5202-6.ch104
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Complexity of the supply chain is one of the difficulties associated to supply chain analysis. A supply chain consists of a series of linked activities that intersect departmental and organizational boundaries. When combined with elements of dynamic complexity (Sterman, 2000), such as feedback, time delays, nonlinearity, accumulation and dispersal of resources (stock and flows), the analysis becomes even more difficult. The existence of these elements compels the use of a systemic and dynamic approach to tackle such complexity (Fowler, 1998). System dynamics (SD) can be used in supply chain analysis to generate insight into dynamic behaviour and causal relationships (Towill, 1996; Akkermans & Dellaert, 2005). In SD modelling, a supply chain is represented as a series of stocks and flows where state changes occur continuously over time; individual entities are not specifically modelled, models are generally deterministic and variables usually represent average values (Tako & Robinson, 2012). Although SD is well suited to model complex systems, it has limitations in providing a detailed representation of a supply chain with discrete changes such as high variability, stochastic uncertainties and discrete disturbances (Pereira, 2009). Failure to grasp the impact of uncertainties is considered to be a major pitfall in understanding supply chains (Tannock, Cao, Farr, & Byrne, 2007).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Supply Chain Analysis: Thorough and exhaustive examination of the structure, processes and flows of a supply chain.

Hybrid SD/DES Simulation: A simulation approach which simultaneously employs SD and DES to study discrete and continuous aspects of a system.

Discrete Event Simulation: A simulation-modelling approach which considers a system as a discrete chain of events over time.

System Dynamics: A simulation-modelling approach to understand the structure and behaviour of complex dynamic systems over time.

Supply Chain: A systemic concept that considers all the activities from procurement of raw materials to the delivery of finished goods as a linked chain of business processes.

Combined SD/DES Simulation: Means to represent continuous and discrete aspects of a system in a single model using an SD and DES approach.

Multiple SD/DES Simulation: Means to elaborate and run a number of SD and DES models simultaneously for the analysis of a system, each model representing different aspects.

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