Date of Award

Summer 2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering - (Ph.D.)

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Zhiming Ji

Second Advisor

Reggie J. Caudill

Third Advisor

E. S. Geskin

Fourth Advisor

R. S. Sodhi

Fifth Advisor

MengChu Zhou

Abstract

Internet use has grown exponentially on the last few years becoming a global communication and business resource. Internet-based business, or e-Business will truly affect every sector of the economy in ways that today we can only imagine. The manufacturing sector will be at the forefront of this change. This doctoral dissertation provides a scientific framework and a set of novel decision support tools for evaluating, modeling, and optimizing the overall performance of e-Business integrated multi-lifecycle production systems. The characteristics of this framework include environmental lifecycle study, environmental performance metrics, hyper-network model of integrated e-supply chain networks, fuzzy multi-objective optimization method, discrete-event simulation approach, and scalable enterprise environmental management system design. The dissertation research reveals that integration of e-Business strategy into production systems can alter current industry practices along a pathway towards sustainability, enhancing resource productivity, improving cost efficiencies and reducing lifecycle environmental impacts.

The following research challenges and scholarly accomplishments have been addressed in this dissertation:

  • Identification and analysis of environmental impacts of e-Business. A pioneering environmental lifecycle study on the impact of e-Business is conducted, and fuzzy decision theory is further applied to evaluate e-Business scenarios in order to overcome data uncertainty and information gaps;
  • Understanding, evaluation, and development of environmental performance metrics. Major environmental performance metrics are compared and evaluated. A universal target-based performance metric, developed jointly with a team of industry and university researchers, is evaluated, implemented, and utilized in the methodology framework;
  • Generic framework of integrated e-supply chain network. The framework is based on the most recent research on large complex supply chain network model, but extended to integrate demanufacturers, recyclers, and resellers as supply chain partners. Moreover, The e-Business information network is modeled as a overlaid hypernetwork layer for the supply chain;
  • Fuzzy multi-objective optimization theory and discrete-event simulation methods. The solution methods deal with overall system parameter trade-offs, partner selections, and sustainable decision-making;
  • Architecture design for scalable enterprise environmental management system. This novel system is designed and deployed using knowledge-based ontology theory, and XML techniques within an agent-based structure. The implementation model and system prototype are also provided.

The new methodology and framework have the potential of being widely used in system analysis, design and implementation of e-Business enabled engineering systems.

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