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The supply chain plays a vital role in the procurement, delivery and manufacturing of raw materials as well as supply of finished products in a network of business processes. The major challenges facing the system are efficient coordination and prompt production planning in meeting and sometimes exceeding customerspsila expectations. Agent-based approach to modelling such business processes has much recompense especially in a virtual enterprise where business entities are distributed over dispersed geographical locations. This model takes advantage of core agentpsilas features and adds autonomous and flexible properties to supply chain system, thus making it proactive and responsive to better compete and efficiently collaborate in creating customer-centred products. In this paper, we propose a multi-agent system framework for a Virtual Enterprise (VE) involved in the manufacturing of products and capture the logic of the production planning with a simple decision tree. This approach relatively simplifies the transformation of the complex logic property of the system to a declarative programming language and facilitates implementation. Also, the agents collaboratively get product order from customers, plan and execute the production processes as well as coordinate the prompt delivery of the finished products. This makes the system akin to a digital ecosystem and invariably gives such business enterprise an edge over its counterparts in the highly competitive market place.
Date of Conference: 26-29 Feb. 2008