A simulation conceptual modelling methodology for supply chain management applications

  • Miles Weaver

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The research focuses upon the development of a simulation conceptual modelling methodology for SCM applications (termed the ‘SCM2’). The originality of the SCM2 is that it combines a prescribed procedure for simulation conceptual modelling with supply chain domain-specific knowledge. This procedure is used to guide participants to create a non-software specific description of the simulation model to be developed, in the context of SCM applications. The SCM2 is presented as a series of seven phases, associated steps, who participates in each step, information needs and points of entry between steps. The SCM2 is entered when a client has a supply problem to be evaluated using a simulation approach. The supply problem is described in terms of the improvement(s) to be evaluated, for a given objective(s) within its supply setting. From this description, how each objective is to be measured and how each improvement is to be represented is determined. The interconnections between model components and the immediate supply setting are discriminated, model boundary formulated and level of detail designed. The output from the SCM2 is a documented and validated conceptual model. The need for a greater understanding of how to perform the conceptual modelling stage, as part of a simulation project, is shown to be of great significance and relevance. In particular the thesis argues that no methodologies exist that can guide participants in a simulation project through the process of creating a simulation conceptual model. A research methodological programme is designed to review existing modelling practice, form a specification for the methodology, develop an outline for the SCM2, detail the outline through refinement and application and a preliminary validation of the SCM2. The specification is formed to identify a set of requirements that the methodology should address. The methodology is developed to meet the specification by refining the outline design using two developmental cases of typical and complex supply chain problems. The outline design is founded on existing practice for conceptual modelling and identifies ten key concepts that have been synthesised by considering the design issues for each requirement identified in the specification. A major advance made by this thesis is a suggestion that the process of conceptual modelling could benefit from utilising domain knowledge provided by the Supply Chain Council SCOR model. It is demonstrated that using SCOR is a powerful way to enable a more focused and efficient procedure for conceptual modelling. The methodology incorporates the key concepts and aligns these with a general process for conceptual modelling. A preliminary validation with a different supply chain illustration demonstrates that the methodology is initially ‘feasible’ and has ‘utility’. Future testing is required in different industrial contexts with actual participants and an opportunity exists to extend the methodology into a web-based application tool.
Date of AwardOct 2010
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPavel Albores (Supervisor)


  • Supply chain management
  • conceptual modelling
  • simulation
  • performance evaluation

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