A collaborative knowledge management framework for supply chains: A UML-based model approach, information technologies imply a strong modelling approach to support the complexities involved in the supply chain management process. Since supply chains are made up of nodes, which need to reach common agreements in order to fulfil their own requirements, the information technologies-based model is an adequate tool to support the modelling of the knowledge management process, mainly in a collaborative context. In the most general cases, collaborative activities also imply a distributed decision-making process which involves several supply chain nodes. Because collaboration in supply chains implies information exchanges among the nodes, the framework proposal is oriented to support knowledge management by considering the information sharing process as one of the main aspects. Therefore by means of a literature review and by also considering the deficiencies of existing proposals, a collaborative knowledge management UML-based framework is herein proposed which encompasses both the conceptual and general perspectives of the supply chain management process. Finally, the proposed framework summarises existing knowledge by not only fulfilling but also enriching each of its components with the modeller’s own knowledge
The supply chain (SC) management process identifies goals, objectives and outlining policies, strategies and controls for its effective and efficient implementation (Smirnov & Chandra, 2000). In addition, Dubey, Veeramani and Gutierrez (2002) establish that the SC considers a set of approaches utilised to efficiently integrate companies, which compose the workgroups, in order to correctly produce and distribute customer requirements. In this context, it is possible to support knowledge management (KM) in a collaborative manner by sharing the right information among the players of these workgroups. Then in order to train people, by not only forming different workgroups, but also simultaneously working on different tasks, two types of sessions are used in the collaborative engine (which can also be understood as the collaborative process), these being user sessions to identify online users and collaboration sessions to represent a group of customers involved in the same collaboration (Ni, Lu, Yarlagadda, & Ming, 2006) which enhances KM. Then in order to fulfil the supply chain management requirements to support collaboration among its members (companies or nodes), this paper will consider the information flow (information sharing or transfer) among them in order to support and study the KM process in the SC. We refer readers to Aurum, Daneshgara, Warda (2008) in order to carry out an in-depth study on the knowledge management basis.
Recently, many studies have been done in the collaborative supply chain field and on its modelling implication. In this context, some suggested literature in this field are: Bafoutsou and Mentzas (2002); Saad, Jones, & James (2002); Gunasekaran and Ngai (2005); Meixell and Gargeya (2005); Fawcett, Osterhaus, Magnan, Brau and McCarter (2007); Fawcett, Magnan and McCarter (2008) and van der Vaart and van Donka (2008). In light of this, a literature review considering the most relevant papers on this matter has been done with a view to finding the main aspects and tools considered to support the KM in the SC under a collaborative approach. Thus, our review shows that the main aspects are related to the following subjects: new development software tools (ST) to support the KM process; decision-making processes; document management and SC management. Regarding the ST, Núñez and Núñez (2005) propose a classification to detect and understand their common applications. As a result, the most considered aspects found were those related to the decision-making process, which mainly uses information analysis tools. Conversely, the least considered aspect is that regarding the SC as a whole. This is related to the fact that KM, in a SC context, tends to be modelled as a centralised concept in relation to each workgroup element. Therefore, this paper proposes a framework which considers and supports collaboration among the SC nodes that is supported by considering a modelling tool approach.
The rest of the paper has been arranged as follows. Section 2 shows an overview related to the main topics to be considered in the framework. Section 3 presents an analysis of Section 2 in order to collect the main aspects and concepts that will support the framework achievement. Section 4 proposes a collaborative knowledge management UML-based framework to support collaboration in the supply chain management process. Finally, Section 5 provides the conclusions and further research
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