Supply Chain Design and Analysis: Models and Methods finally part

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6.4 Supply Chain Classification
Supply chain systems are inherently complex. Thus, the models and methods used to accurately study these systems are, expectedly, also complex. However, if supply chain systems could be classified on the bases of specific characteristics, such as uncertainty or volume of demand, number of echelons, or number of items produced, there may be rule-of-thumb techniques that suggest operational characteristics that may achieve a certain objective (or set of objectives). Thus, research that develops a meaningful classification scheme for supply chain systems that leads to rules-of-thumb associations between decision variables and performance objectives is needed.
7 Summary
A supply chain is defined as a set of relationships among suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers that facilitates the transformation of raw materials into final products. Although the supply chain is comprised of a number of business components, the chain itself is viewed as a single entity. Traditionally, practitioners and researchers have limited their analyses and scope to individual stages within the larger chain, but have recently identified a need for a more integrated approach to manufacturing system design. Consequently, the supply chain framework has emerged as an important component of this new, integrated approach.
The objective of this paper was twofold: (1) to provide a focused review of literature in supply chain modeling and (2) to identify a research agenda for future research in this area. More specifically, this paper reviewed the available supply chain models and methods, and identified topics for future research consideration that will facilitate the advancement of knowledge and practice in the area of supply chain design and analysis. Based on the existing body of research in supply chain modeling, suggestions were made for future research in the following four areas: (1) evaluation and development of supply chain performance measures, (2) development of models and procedures to relate decision variables to the performance measures, (3) consideration of issues affecting supply chain modeling, and (4) classification of supply chain systems to allow for the development of rules-of-thumb or general techniques to aid in the design and analysis of manufacturing supply chains.
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