Coordination of Converging Material Flows Under Conditions of Uncertainty in Supply Chains

  • Liesje De Boeck
  • Nico Vandaele
Part of the International Handbooks on Information Systems book series (INFOSYS)


This chapter examines the coordination of converging material (component) flows in supply chains under conditions of uncertainty. It is well known that such flows complicate regular material flows. They entail that the components should wait for each other (synchronization time of components) and induce a modified arrival process on the part of the sets of components at the assembly operation (arrival process of kits). As such, they play a major role in supply chain performance. In order to improve this performance, one can rely on some important generic managerial insights: if component flows are independent renewal processes and warehouses have enough (infinite) capacity, the flows do not get synchronized; more variable component flows degrade system performance; more frequent component supply (keeping the level of variability fixed) does not change the synchronization time but improves productivity; more components degrade system performance and, finally, component flows need coordination. This chapter develops approximations in order to underpin these managerial insights and concludes by extending these insights to practical guidelines.


Converging flows Coordination Supply chains Uncertainty 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Modeling and SimulationHUBrusselBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Research Centre for Operations ManagementK.U.LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Faculty of Business and EconomicsK.U. Leuven-Campus KortrijkKortrijkBelgium

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