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Dynamic Multi-Agent Based Variety Formation and Steering in Mass Customization

Blecker, Thorsten and Abdelkafi, Nizar and Kreutler, Gerold and Friedrich, Gerhard (2004): Dynamic Multi-Agent Based Variety Formation and Steering in Mass Customization. Published in: 6th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems (ICEIS 2004) (14 April 2004)


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Large product variety in mass customization involves a high internal complexity level inside a company’s operations, as well as a high external complexity level from a customer’s perspective. To cope with both complexity problems, an information system based on agent technology is able to be identified as a suitable solution approach. 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 have to compete with each other in order to join coalitions representing salable product variants which suit real customers’ requirements. The negotiation process is based on a market mechanism supported by the target costing concept and a Dutch auction. Furthermore, in order to integrate the multi-agent system in the existing information system landscape of the mass customizer, a technical architecture is proposed and a scenario depicting the main communication steps is specified.

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