Holonic supply chain: a study from family-based manufacturing perspective

Navin K. Dev*, Ravi Shankar, Prasanta K. Dey, Angappa Gunasekaran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the contemporary business environment, to adhere to the need of the customers, caused the shift from mass production to mass-customization. This necessitates the supply chain (SC) to be effective flexible. The purpose of this paper is to seek flexibility through adoption of family-based dispatching rules under the influence of inventory system implemented at downstream echelons of an industrial supply chain network. We compared the family-based dispatching rules in existing literature under the purview of inventory system and information sharing within a supply chain network. The dispatching rules are compared for Average Flow Time performance, which is averaged over the three product families. The performance is measured using extensive discrete event simulation process. Given the various inventory related operational factors at downstream echelons, the present paper highlights the importance of strategically adopting appropriate family-based dispatching rule at the manufacturing end. In the environment of mass customization, it becomes imperative to adopt the family-based dispatching rule from the system wide SC perspective. This warrants the application of intra as well as inter-echelon information coordination. The holonic paradigm emerges in this research stream, amidst the holistic approach and the vital systemic approach. The present research shows its novelty in triplet. Firstly, it provides leverage to manager to strategically adopting a dispatching rule from the inventory system perspective. Secondly, the findings provide direction for the attenuation of adverse impact accruing from demand amplification (bullwhip effect) in the form of inventory levels by appropriately adopting family-based dispatching rule. Thirdly, the information environment is conceptualized under the paradigm of Koestler's holonic theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Industrial Engineering
Early online date2 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


  • average Flow Time
  • discrete event simulation
  • family-based dispatching
  • holonic paradigm
  • supply chain coordination


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