Supply Chain Visualization James Patten, Professor Hiroshi Ishii, Professor Tom Malone*, Dr. Jim Hines*, Mary Murphy-Hoye***, Ben Koo**, John Quimby*, George Herman*, Chantz Strong*, and Paulo Goncalves * MIT Sloan School of Management ** MIT Leaders for Manufacturing Program *** Intel Corporation
The Supply Chain Visualization (SCVis) project provides a way for managers to physically construct and interact with models of how products flow between their business, their suppliers and their customers. It lets managers use complex numerical simulation techniques as part of "what if?" conversations about possible changes to the way they do business. The SCVis system is built on top of the Sensetable platform.
The interface has two parts. One of these lets managers construct models of their supply chains from scratch. They do this by manipulating physical objects representing various types of factories, warehouses, customers and suppliers on a tabletop surface. A computer tracks the motions of these physical objects, and gives the user feedback using video projection from overhead. As the user creates relationships between the various objects on the table, these relationships are translated into business relationships in a simulation model. This model can be used to develop an understanding of some of the dynamic properties of the supply chain.
The second part of the interface lets users simulate existing supply chain models. One can navigate through a taxonomy of business processes, and select one that is similar to a particular business one would like to learn about. One can then modify that model to make it more similar to the real-world business in question. In addition one can run numerical simulations to understand the dynamic behavior of the supply chain. One can physically tweak parameters in this simulation, and recieve real-time feedback about how these changes affect the simulation as a whole.