This study presents an automated outsourcer selection and order tracking system for alliance members within a particular supply chain named Center-Satellite Factory System, where the center factory outsources its manufacturing operations to satellite factories. The objective of the proposed system is to assist the center factory to find suitable outsourcers for a particular customer order. The system employs mobile agents to convey order and capacity information between the center factory and the potential outsourcers. The final outsourcer selection decision is based upon the capacity availability of the satellite factories and their historical track record in achieving on-time deliveries. The system provides customers with an order tracking capability such that they can monitor the status of their orders as they are executed. A prototype version of the proposed system is implemented on a web platform. To enable data exchange between different organizations, the system employs an XML (eXtensible Markup Language) data format. The capabilities of the proposed system are demonstrated using a case study involving a machining tool company in Taiwan.
Computers and Industrial Engineering 55(2), pp.406-422