An Architecture for Supply Chain Integration and Automation on the Internet


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Abstract

Electronic commerce is happening at a very fast pace and business-to-business ecommerce is taking the lead, a very important part of which is the supply chain integration and automation. There is a high demand for well accepted interoperability standards which need to be fitted together for supply chain integration to meet the business demands such as being able to integrate catalogs from different companies. This will facilitate product comparisons and producing customized catalogs. Given an anchor product anywhere on the supply chain, it should be possible to obtain information on related products that complement or add value to this anchor product. Yet another key issue is the full automation of the supply chain processes. However since a single dominant electronic commerce standard is unlikely, the supply chain integration and automation should be able to accommodate different standards like OBI or OTP. This will make it possible for users to conform to the standards of their choice.Another important fact is that rigid supply chains can co-exist with supply chains formed on the fly where participants can transact business spontaneously since the Web is able to make the information instantly available to all trading partners. Facilitating resource discovery that is discovering information on possible partners and their catalogs on the Internet and transacting business automatically also becomes an important issue.The architecture developed within the scope of this paper addresses these issues. We have used the emerging technologies and standards as the infrastructure of the system proposed; and integrated these to meet the needs of supply chain integration and automation and demonstrated how each of the mentioned functionality can be achieved.

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