Designing Agent Based Inter-Organizational Systems: Business and IOS alignment in the Port of Rotterdam


Douma, Albert and Moonen, Hans and Hillegersberg, Jos van and Rakt, Bastiaan van de and Schutten, Marco (2006) Designing Agent Based Inter-Organizational Systems: Business and IOS alignment in the Port of Rotterdam. [Report]

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Abstract:Inter-organizational systems (IOS) hold high promises for improving the coordination of activities in logistics business networks. Although several successful IOS have been implemented, success is scarce in situations where different parties like to keep a large degree of autonomy, are hardly prepared to share information and do not have any contractual relationships. In such settings, agent based IOS may be the preferred solution. Agent technology sets another way of looking at system design and architecture. Agent systems come to solutions not through central optimization as most traditional IOS, but as a result of agent communication. However, real-world implementations of agent-based IOS are scarce and little is know regarding how to design such systems to assure successful adoption. In this paper we discuss a real-world agent-based IOS we are designing. The system deals with the problem of barge rotation planning in the Port of Rotterdam – an example in which an agent based IOS seems very promising. This paper reports on how the inter-organizational setting and multi-agent coordination design need to be aligned. We conclude that an agent based coordination mechanism should not only be designed with optimal performance in mind, but should also fit the real-world setting in which strategic and competitive factors dominate.
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Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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