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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|7667||2010||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, Volume 26, Issue 1, February 2010, Pages 1–12
Despite the positive expectations and although they are nowadays considered the most spread Business to Business (B2B) solution, e-marketplaces are still far from representing a real tool for the extended enterprise: as the dramatic down-turn in the e-commerce sector demonstrated, e-business initiatives require solid business models that clearly relate the services provided to the overall profitability of the company. In this paper, we take a particular but quite general e-marketplace business model as our point of departure and use that model to motivate the development of algorithms to support management of trade among buyers and sellers. Specifically, e-marketplaces profitability can be increased by an integration of production planning, negotiation and coalition support tools. Production planning tools allow to create a link between commercialization and production activities, supplying a better service for customer, negotiation tools allow to make transactions taking into account both buyers’ and sellers’ goals and, finally, coalition represent the proposed course of action for small and medium suppliers not able to fully respond to the customer requests. This paper presents an innovative approach, based on multi-agent system, and a concerning simulation test-bed conducted to demonstrate, in a quantitative way, the advantages arising by adopting the proposed approach.
With the movement of business to the internet, one of the most popular e-commerce models to emerge has been that of the e-marketplace. An e-marketplace is an electronic exchange where firms register themself as sellers or buyers to communicate and conduct business over the internet. There are many types of e-marketplaces based on a range of business models. They may operate on a cost-recovery basis by an independent third party (such as an industry association) or be set-up as a business offering, with a middle-person providing a value-added function such as transaction services. Services offered by e-marketplaces include business directory listings, electronic catalogues for online purchasing of goods and services and trading or transaction services. More recently researchers have sought to exploit the electronic infrastructure of e-marketplaces and the wealth of information that can be gathered in e-marketplaces to provide sophisticated methods of matching buyers and sellers, using agent-based, auction-based, and broker-based techniques. Of the work in this area that has addressed profitability of the e-marketplace, the overriding concern has been for maximization of single period revenues, with less attention paid to how the techniques fit within a more strategic business model. However, as the dramatic down-turn in the e-commerce sector demonstrated, e-business initiatives require solid business models that clearly relate the services provided to the overall profitability of the company. To be fully interactive, a company needs to be able to understand the business concepts represented in the interchanged data, and apply business-specific rules to trigger the appropriate actions. Particularly, the company needs to exchange data with their trading partners, who may be using different platforms and a variety of data formats. In order to achieve this, the enterprise needs to increase its IT investments and integrate legacy data, residing in the existing applications. To make business transactions more efficient and to get over the issues related to the use of different platforms and/or use of different data formats from a company and its trading partners, the authors use a multi-agent system (MAS) approach as point of departure and use it to support management of trade among buyers and sellers: each object represents an agent and the system evolves through a message-sending engine managed by a discrete event scheduler. Through the use of this technology is possible to focus the research on developing those value-added services (VASs) allowing to improve e-marketplace effectiveness. As stressed in Wise and Morrison  and in Perrone , in such B2B applications transactions are not enough to guarantee profitability. The authors identify the origin of this flaw in the following reasons: • Most of the e-marketplaces, especially those seller or buyer oriented, put respectively buyers and sellers in a price competitions that brings advantages only for the e-marketplace owner (the seller and the buyer), but not for the other participants. • Sellers get very little advantage in staying in an e-marketplace because the possibility to spread the business is in part neglected by the price reduction. • e-Marketplace owner seems not to provide its customers (e-marketplace participants) with distinctive offering and services that allow to improve profitability. The report of Aberdeen Group  shows how the impact of the e-marketplace improves the performance of each enterprise area. Then, this report shows the e-procurement performance between 2001 and 2006, in particular the increase of enabled suppliers, numbers of users and the number of transactions. Therefore, the e-procurement contributes significantly to reduce operation costs and increase the performance of the enterprise. Moreover, it is not surprising to see that many firms involved in the elaboration of the report, plan to grow their e-business “footprint” by investing in distinct applications: nearly one of every five of them plans to invest in contract compliance and supplier performance management in the near future. The authors, starting from this perspective, in order to recovery profitability in e-marketplaces, propose an innovative software integration of production planning, negotiation and coalition support tools. Undeniably, production planning tools allow creating a link between commercialization and production activities providing a better service for the customer, which can gain reliable information about order availability and timing, and for the supplier, that can correctly plan resources utilization in order to achieve lower costs. On the other hand, negotiation tools allow making transactions able to take into account both buyers’ and sellers’ identities and goals, providing a better global satisfaction. Furthermore, coalition may be a big chance for small and medium suppliers not able to fully respond to the customer request: collaboration among different agents is a basic issue in a stay-together economy. The specific focus of the research presented in this paper is, on one hand, to propose a MAS architecture for enabling automatic trading in manufacturing e-marketplaces and, on the other hand, to test different types of VAS models that the MAS architecture is able to support. The paper is organized as it follows. Section 2 presents a brief state of the art on coalition tool as a VAS for e-marketplace context. The specific research environment is described in Section 3. Section 4 presents the agent-based model, while 5, 6 and 7 respectively report the three VAS models that the authors propose to improve e-marketplace effectiveness. The simulation of the numerical case study and the accomplished conclusions are shown in Section 8.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper concerns with value-added services in linear neutral e-marketplace. In particular, the aim of the research was to investigate advantages of using integrated production planning and negotiation in e-marketplace and to test how coalition strategies can bring real advantages for both customers and suppliers. In particular, the proposed coalition strategies have a flexible nature. They do not require either specific investment or partners’ behaviour modifications. This is because several virtual coalitions can be created during a transaction bargain and if one of these has the necessary characteristics to become a real coalition, it could survive just for a single transaction. The other aim of the paper was to measure the benefits arising from the proposed VAS in order to quantify the “stay-together economies” in an agent-based environment independent from used platform typology. These kinds of extemporized inter-organizational forms offer benefits to e-marketplace members. As the results show, both supplier and customer gain benefits from the coalition strategies adoption. Moreover, such strategy could be adopted for other scopes (not just for order fulfilment) and in a vertical manner (among firms which produce different components of the same product required by the customer of the e-marketplace) . In few words, the coalition “formation” problem attains with the definition of the following items: • members of the coalition; • counter-proposal formulation; • profit-sharing mechanism (in case the coalition wins the negotiation). In this paper, the authors proposed two approaches to manage these items: • Policy NEA1: the Nash equilibrium is used to determine the suppliers which can establish a coalition. The counter-proposal formulation follows the schema presented in Section 7.1. And the profit-sharing strategy is proportional to the supplier's produced volume. • Policy NEA2: in this case all the counter-proposals formulation are computed by using the Nash equilibrium condition (Nash equilibrium path). Moreover, two benchmark models have been considered: • the model with no possibility to make coalition among suppliers and • the model without an appropriate strategy to verify the coalitional existence conditions. A proper simulation environment has been developed, using open source architecture, to test the proposed coalition approach. The simulation results evidence the real advantages, for both customers and suppliers, of the proposed VASs. Moreover, a proper strategy to realize a coalition is a critical factor to improve the customer and supplier's performances. Summarizing, the following important results emerged: • The Nash equilibrium approach (NEA1) allows improving both customers and suppliers performance. This is because the “saddle point” is computed by an appropriate strategy that considers all the known exigencies of both customer and supplier. As the reader can notice, in the absence of this underlying policy, the results do not confirm the benefits arising from coalition services. • The Nash equilibrium path approach (NEA2) leads to worst global performance because of counter-proposal computation. Specifically, the formulation of all the counter proposals with all the considered bounds reduces significantly the set of possible proposals. Summing up, this research would understand which approaches are better to be used in an e-marketplace where the coalition's formation is possible. Further researches will deeply investigate the influence, in the presented models, of payoffs matrix to the realization of a coalition and the possibility, during the negotiation protocol, to simulate a central software unit, which could help the supplier agents to re-formulate their strategy during the coalition formation process.