Qualitative search algorithms for partner selection and task allocation in the formulation of virtual enterprise

Q. X. Chen, X. Chen, Wing Bun Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In the formation of dynamic virtual enterprise (VE), partner search is of prime importance. Finding potential partners in a directory is the first step of the process that might involve several interactions between the VE initiator and these potential partners in order to gather additional information and to reach agreements on the forms and terms of cooperation (Camarinha-Matos and Afsarmanesh, 1999, pp. 493). Given the manufacturing requirements, the initiator or coordinator of dynamic VE should first prepare several alternative schemes that can satisfy the requirements. Next, the coordinator should evaluate these alternative schemes by means of some multi-objective analysis methodologies, such as multi-objective decision-making (MODM), data envelopment analysis (EDA), analytic hierarchy process (AHP) or fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP), fuzzy comprehensive evaluation (FCE), or statistical analysis, multi-attribute utility theory (MAUT). Then the coordinator should determine the formation scheme. The present paper deals with the search procedure of alternative schemes to form VE for the coordinator. In this paper, a logic model is first put forward to describe the relationships among the manufacturing capabilities of enterprises and the manufacturing requirements of clients within the range of the applied industry. It will suffer little change in a considerable long period because of its qualitative nature. This advantage will make it easy to maintain. Next, the procedures for the manufacturing enterprises seeking partners with this logic qualitative model are expressed mathematically. Based upon this logic model, three search algorithms are brought about for three different optimal goals, respectively: minimizing the number of enterprises, minimizing the number of redundant basic capability units in the dynamic enterprise alliances and minimizing the number of basic capability units useful to the manufacturing requirement of each enterprise. After that, theoretical analyses are made for these algorithms. It is demonstrated that these three search algorithms are all polynomial with respect to the number of enterprises belonging to a particular industry. This number is usually fairly large and represents the size of the search problem. In the end, it is shown that these three algorithms are effective and reliable with an example.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-126
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • Agile manufacturing
  • Corporate portal
  • Dynamic alliance (agile virtual enterprise)
  • Partner search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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