Section: Application Domains
For a long time, only systems producing goods were studied with a lot of applications in the manufacturing world. More recently, systems producing services have been considered. These kinds of systems include government services, banks, health services and hospitals, maintenance services, large distribution channels, etc. A common feature to these fields is their strong socio-technical component, the role of human beings remaining the driving force of these systems, throughout many functions (actor, decision-maker, operator, customer, etc). Thus it is very important to consider also these systems, by integrating new constraints (and more particularly the social, economical, technological and environmental ones), together with the complexity of the proposed systems with their human dimension. Therefore, the COSTEAM project tackles the study of critical problems of optimization and decision-making existing in logistic systems, production systems and services systems. The goal is to evaluate, design and manage the following kind of systems:
Manufacturing systems such as:
Discrete systems, existing for instance in the automotive industry, aeronautics or mechanical production;
High-speed systems (with high rate flow of parts) or current flow systems that are very common in companies from various industrial sectors (e.g. food industry, pharmaceutics, cosmetics, electronics).
Services systems (government services, banks, health services, maintenance services, etc). The problems encountered are diversified. For instance, they can concern the definition of timetables; the determination of maintenance plans by maintenance agents.
Logistic systems (supplying, production, distribution and transport), under their strategic, tactical and operational aspects. More specially, we are interested in:
The logistical and industrial strategy and the problems related to location and sizing of logistic and industrial units;
The scheduling and optimization of supplies, stocks and distribution;
The scheduling and optimization of load transport, and more particularly long-distance transport, combined transport and vehicles rounds, supplying transport, inter-factories transport and distribution.
Among all these domains, a new application field addressed in our team is the E-sourcing, which is a network of electronic management purchasing. Indeed, the emergence of new technologies provides manufacturing companies with new solutions to increase their competitiveness. E-sourcing represents an effort from companies in their use of Internet to optimize their purchases using electronic trade, on-line services for calls for proposals, virtual market places, etc.
The Internet and the Web services allow companies to get over the geographical limits, to take benefits of a worldwide market and to build new relationships between customers and suppliers. A well-managed project based on E-sourcing is a major source of profits and reduction of administrative expenses.
However these technologies also bring new risks and weaken companies exploiting the worldwide market. This is the reason why one of the key factors for success is the capacity of companies to integrate an unstable relational framework, oscillating according to the object and the moment.
Studying the customers-suppliers relationships in the context of the e-sourcing, integrating the E-sourcing into the optimization of a purchasing program taking into account risk factors (economical, social and environmental ones) are the main objectives of our research in this application field.