Munich Personal RePEc Archive

A Multi-Agent based Configuration Process for Mass Customization

Blecker, Thorsten and Abdelkafi, Nizar and Kreutler, Gerold (2004): A Multi-Agent based Configuration Process for Mass Customization. Published in: Conference Proceedings, International Conference on Economic, Technical and Organisational aspects of Product Configuration Systems (2004)

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Abstract

Large product variety in mass customization involves a high internal complexity level inside a companyís operations, as well as a high external complexity level from a customerís perspective. In order to reach a competitive advantage through mass customization, it is necessary to cope with both problems. This is done within the scope of variety formation and variety steering tasks: Variety formation supports customers during the configuration task according to their preferences and knowledge, variety steering tasks internally deal with finding the customizerís optimal offer. Driven by this economic background, we present a comprehensive multi-agent based design for a configuration process in this paper. It is identified as a suitable solution approach integrating both perspectives. The mass customized products are assumed to be based on a modular architecture and each module variant is associated with an autonomous rational agent. Agents must compete with each other in order to join product variants which suit real customersí requirements. The negotiation process is based on a market mechanism supported by the target costing concept and a Dutch auction.

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