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The need for coordinated material flow in supply chains is essential for the competitiveness of manufacturing firms. A hierarchical coordination is not applicable for each supply chain. A collaboration between entities is required to meet future challenges. Besides appropriate planning concepts an IT solution is a major challenge. Multi-agent systems (MAS) are an enabler for a decentralized coordination process. The evolvement of appropriate planning methods makes MAS interesting for collaborative supply chain management (SCM). Nevertheless, the user should be seen as the supply chain engineer, holding the knowledge to create the collaborative supply chain processes. Therefore, the user has to be integrated in the IT solution. A configurable MAS, based on generic components, satisfies this requirement so that MAS can easily be adapted to the changing processes and environment by the user. This paper presents a concept of a configurable MAS and a prototype of a MAS-Editor for collaborative production planning.
Date of Conference: 29 March-1 April 2005