Thomas E. Potok, Ph.D.
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Supplier Utilization through Responsive Grouped Enterprises (SURGE)

We have developed a multi-agent system that is capable of grouping parts that will be produced by a general set of part manufacturers, rather than in a single manufacturing environment. We have defined agents that represent the characteristics of each spare part. These agents interact in three distinct ways: 1) the agents cluster themselves based on part attributes, i.e., similar materials or demand rates. This provides the ability to filter the part information based on attributes from a collection of parts, i.e., the processes that are used to produce the parts. This clustering can be done strictly based on the manufacturing process or on a broader set of characteristics, such as part cost, and processing sequence. 2) the agents to cluster themselves based on their represented manufacturing process, and 3) the agents cluster themselves based on a specific vendor capability. This provides for vendor specific input into the grouping process. Currently this is a manual interaction with the agent, however, we envision agents at a wide variety of manufacturers negotiating part placements within groups