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Information technology for supply chain management
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Information technology for supply chain management

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  • 1. CIS-6930-01 Applications of Information Technology I Assignment #1 9/8/2000 Information Technology for Supply Chain Management I am a Ph.D. candidate in industrial engineering department. My research interest is the application of information technology in supply chain management. In this report, three papers, which use CORBA as a client/server computing infrastructure to implement specific system for supply chain management, are reviewed. 1. Introduction Information technology (IT) is an important enabler of effective supply chain management. Much of the current interest in supply chain management is motivated by the possibilities that are introduced by the abundance of data and the savings inherent in sophisticated analysis of these data. The innovative opportunities coming to the fore with electronic commerce (e-commerce), especially through the Internet, have also increased the interest in IT. Supply chain management spans the entire enterprise and beyond, encompassing suppliers on one end and customers on the other and aiming at improved customer service at reduced overall costs. It is one of the trends in business today. Specific initiatives in this field are Efficient Consumer Response, Customer Requirements Planning and Vendor Managed Inventory. A current trend in technology is global computer networking, which refers to the integration of computers and telecommunications, thus creating a world wide network of communicating computers. The emergence of electronic mail, electronic data interchange, wide area networks, the Internet, its World Wide Web and intranets is obvious. A major challenge is to discover and exploit the potential synergy between the business trend on the one hand and the technology trend on the other hand. Our suggestion is that supply chain management can be brought to a new level of integration with the help of global computer networking. 2. Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) Overview The CORBA, developed by OMG (Object Management Group), is an available technology for implementing systems based on distributed object technology. CORBA is a specification for a cross-platform communication infrastructure at the application level. CORBA provides solutions for interoperability in heterogeneous computer networks, composed of computers at different locations, which may apply different hardware, operating systems and programming languages. The CORBA technology is presented in Figure 1. Figure 1. Common object request broker architecture -1-
  • 2. CIS-6930-01 Applications of Information Technology I Assignment #1 9/8/2000 Main areas in the architecture are application objects, Object Request Brokers (ORB), CORBA Services and CORBA Facilities. • Application objects: Application objects are objects specific to the application of a system and provide typical functionality. An application object client can invoke an operation on a remote application object server by sending a request message. A request consists of the target object, required operation name and optional parameters. Instead of direct interaction between distributed application objects, remote requests are handled by ORBs. • Object Request Brokers: ORBs facilitate the interaction of distributed objects by freeing objects from having to discover the location of other objects. In CORBA, objects are defined by interfaces, which are specified in the Interface Definition Language (IDL), a technology-independent language with mappings to programming languages such as C++, Smalltalk and Java. Client and server objects are linked to an ORB through stubs and skeletons, respectively, which translate local language to IDL and vice versa. A request from a client object to a remote server object is intercepted by an ORB, which translates the request to IDL, locates the desired server object and passes the request on to it, perhaps via other ORBs. Communication between ORBs is arranged with the General Inter- ORB Protocol (GIOP). • Services and facilities: Besides application objects and ORBs, CORBA comprises CORBA Services and CORBA Facilities. These are additional aids to ease the implementation of distributed and object-oriented systems. CORBA Services support the infrastructure level and are needed in all types of applications. Examples are the Naming Service and the Event Notification Service. CORBA Facilities provide standard functionality at the application level. Examples are facilities for user interfaces and information management. 3. Paper Review Following review shows that CORBA, as a distributed computing infrastructure, can be helpful in supply chain management. Verwijmeren (2000) exploits the distributed object technology to achieve networked inventory management. He developed the Networked Inventory Management Information Systems (NIMISs). These are distributed and object-oriented information systems for integral inventory management across networked organizations. The desired functionality of the systems is networked inventory management, which is the combination of integral inventory management (according to Base Stock Control, Materials Requirements Planning and Line Requirements Planning) and networked organization management (including configuration flexibility, timing flexibility and algorithm flexibility). The systems exploit distributed object technology, using both distributed systems (with principles as local computing, heterogeneous computing and transparent computing) and object-oriented technology (characterized by object classification, attribute encapsulation and operation invocation). The system design is created with the help of the Object Modeling Technique (OMT) and consists of an object -2-
  • 3. CIS-6930-01 Applications of Information Technology I Assignment #1 9/8/2000 model, a dynamic model and a functional model. For the system implementation the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) is applied. A geographic information system (GIS) is an integrated computer mapping and spatial database management system that provides a broad array of functions for the storage, retrieval, management, analysis, and display of geographically referenced data. Originally, GIS was extensively used in applications such as market analysis, census and demographic data analysis, real estate, geology, and forestry. More recently, however, GIS has found application in areas of potentially more interest to the supply chain manager, such as transportation and telecommunication network analysis, site selection, routing and supply chain management. Muro-Medrano et al (1999) exploits CORBA infrastructure to provide distributed GPS data in real time to GIS applications. Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) has been in practice for some time in the major corporations. Global competition and distributed manufacturing environments will require that these corporations integrate people and computers into the total development process as well. This integration must take place through well-accepted human and electronic protocols. Rezayat (2000) introduces a new concept of Integrated Product, Processes, and Protocols Development (IP3D), where the word “protocols” refers to both human and electronic protocols. He suggests that electronic access to design and manufacturing information within the extended enterprise must be Web-based because of its universal interface, open standards, ease of use, and ubiquity. To effectively deal with the distributed data, he recommends combining the distributed object standards (e.g., CORBA/DCOM) with the Web standards and protocols (e.g., Java, XML, IIOP) to create the Object Web. He also proposes that the Object Web must be combined with an enterprise’s information authoring and management systems (e.g. CAD, PDM, ERP) to create the Enterprise-Web (E-Web) portal, with the mission of providing the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right format anywhere within the extended enterprise. 4. References [1] M.A.A.P. Verwijmeren, Exploiting distributed object technology to achieve networked inventory management, Computers in Industry 41 (2000) 239-250. [2] P.R. Muro-Medrano, D. Infante, J. Guillo, J. Zarazaga and J.A. Banares, A CORBA infrastructure to provide distributed GPS data in real time to GIIS applications, Computers, Environment and Urban System 23 (1999) 271-285. [3] M. Reazyat, The Enterprise-Web portal for life cycle support, Computer-Aided Design 32 (2000) 85-96. -3-
  • 4. CIS-6930-01 Applications of Information Technology I Assignment #1 9/8/2000 The Useful Sites for Distributed Object Computing 1. http://www.cs.wustl.edu/~schmidt/corba.html This site gives a lot of stuffs on distributed object computing with CORBA middleware. It includes following topics: • Overview of CORBA • Research on CORBA • Tutorials on CORBA • C++ report columns on CORBA • The ACE ORB (TAO) • CORBA online • CORBA-related papers • CORBA-related products • CORBA-related information 2. http://www.execpc.com/~gopalan/ This site is dedicated to the ubiquitous component developer. It is an oasis for the parched enterprise component engineer/developer. There is also a good article in this site which gives a detailed comparison of CORBA, DCOM and Java/RMI with specific code examples. Major topics in this site are as follows: • Middleware component models - CCM (CORBA Component Model), EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans), and MTS (Microsoft Transaction Server) • Middleware remoting technologies - DCOM, Java/RMI and CORBA • Message Oriented Middleware (MOM) • Java and related technologies • Java Server Pages (JSP), the Servlets API and the JavaMail API • Jini Technology • Design patterns • Win32 systems programming, Visual C++ and MFC 3. http://patriot.net/~tvalesky/ejb.html This page is a list of pointers to information and products related to Enterprise JavaBeans. Enterprise JavaBeans is a specification for the creation of platform- independent middleware components. Major contents in this site are listed as follows: • Mailing list archives • Available products supporting EJB • Open-source and/or freeware EJB implementations • Technical information and documentation on EJB • EJB-related technologies • White papers on EJB • Slides from talks on EJB • Articles on EJB -4-
  • 5. CIS-6930-01 Applications of Information Technology I Assignment #1 9/8/2000 4. http://www.w3.org/XML The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is the universal format for structured documents and data on the Web. We can learn lots about XML from this site. Major contents in this site include: • XML working drafts in progress • XML developer discussion • Events and publications in the W3C XML • XML translations • XML software • Other links on XML • Research notebook on XML 5. http://www.apl.jhu.edu/~hall/java/ This site is Marty Hall's collections of Java Programming Resources. It has numerous useful information on Java. The table of contents is as follows: • Java programming books • Java programming resources at Sun • Java programming FAQs and tutorials • Integrated development environments and editors • Java programming documentation • Free Java programming tools • Java programming courses • Other Java programming resource pages • Downloading Java compilers, Java-enabled browsers, and other standard Java packages. • CGI programming in Java • Java programming examples • Java security • Java applet and class library collections • Garbage collection • CWP source code archive • General WWW programming resources 6. http://www.developmentor.com/dbox/ Learn something from the pioneer in this field. Don Box is the cofounder of DevelopMentor where he oversees the general curriculum and teaches various COM and MTS courses. Don wrote Essential COM and co-wrote Effective COM, both for Addison Wesley and is a contributing editor to both Microsoft Interactive Developer (MIND) and Microsoft Systems Journal (MSJ), where he writes the bimonthly COM column. Don has worked on various COM projects and has acted as a consultant on Software AG's -5-
  • 6. CIS-6930-01 Applications of Information Technology I Assignment #1 9/8/2000 DCOM/UNIX product and has occasionally consulted with the Microsoft Transaction Server and COM teams at Microsoft. -6-