Agent-based optimisation of logistics and production planning

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Manufacturing and logistics service provision enterprises are currently moving towards open virtual enterprise collaboration networks to meet the needs of the Global Economy. In such networks, manufacturing and logistics planning and scheduling is challenging due to the difficulties in integrating information from different partners and in exploring a large and dynamically changing number of planning and scheduling alternatives. Agent-based technology is considered suitable to support planning and scheduling in such enterprises because agents can dynamically adapt their behaviour to changing requirements and they can reduce the number of planning and scheduling alternatives via negotiation. This paper presents an agent-based approach for supporting logistics and production planning, taking into account not only production schedules but also availability and cost of logistic service providers. This is achieved through efficient negotiation mechanisms based on an extended contracting protocol. The agent infrastructure is being developed within the context of Agentcities, a successful EU-funded initiative to build a world-wide distributed and open platform which provides agent-based services. The proposed approach is illustrated in a case study concerning optimisation of production planning of a virtual manufacturing enterprise in relation to sub-contracted logistic services used to transport materials between the enterprise units. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-348
Number of pages13
JournalEngineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003