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An application of AHP in the development process of a supply chain reference model focusing on demand variability


Increased demand variability between the discrete tiers of a supply chain is perhaps the most significant criterion for strategic supply chain decisions, for example facility location and supply chain network design, as it directly affects the efficient operation of the whole supply chain. In this paper, we describe a real-life case of pursuing remedy to the demand variability problem by elaborating a reference model focusing on supply chain processes, which encapsulate critical demand related decisions, currently ill-treated, underestimated or even worse, overlooked. The paper focuses on the basis reference model selection stage of our research and provides details of analytic hierarchy process (AHP’s) application, in an operations research/supply chain management interdisciplinary context, to support the decision of selecting the most appropriate reference model to serve as the basis for the development of a supply chain reference model, focusing on demand variability management. In doing so, a group of two academic professors and three supply-chain experts was formed under the supervision of the AHP study facilitator. The AHP process resulted in a unanimous decision to shortlist SCOR and GSCF models, as providing the best coverage of the criteria list items. Finally, the GSCF model is selected as an initial basis for the development of the supply chain reference model for managing demand variability, introduced and presented at the end of the paper.

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This research has been co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund - ESF) and Greek national funds through the Operational Program "Education and Lifelong Learning" of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) - Research Funding Program: THALES - Investing in knowledge society through the European Social Fund. We also thank the Editor-in-Chief and the two anonymous reviewers for their meaningful suggestions, their constructive comments and their support throughout the paper’s review process.

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Correspondence to Stavros T. Ponis.

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Ponis, S.T., Gayialis, S.P., Tatsiopoulos, I.P. et al. An application of AHP in the development process of a supply chain reference model focusing on demand variability. Oper Res Int J 15, 337–357 (2015).

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  • Supply chain management
  • Process modeling
  • Supply chain reference models
  • Analytic hierarchy process
  • SCOR
  • GSCF