Alternate Title

Supply network dynamics and delays; performance, synchronization, stability


Ismail Ilker Delice


Recent research results in Industrial Engineering and Business disciplines specifically emphasize the critical role of delays in the functionality of supply networks. Delays are inevitable and pervasive; they arise due to the time needed for material deliveries, information flow and human perception towards adjusting to new decisions. Delays are endangering as they contaminate decision-making which ultimately leads to poor performance, synchronization problems and fluctuating inventory levels resulting in major economical losses. It is critical to state that inventory regulation and synchronization in supply networks even without delays is an open problem today due to large scale of the network, nonlinearities, randomness and uncertainties in partially artificial consumer demand. With delays, the problem is more dramatic and end-effects of decision-making are not thoroughly understood. This paper surveys mathematical models developed for supply network dynamics, connecting it via a system-level construct with standard delay models pertaining to material deliveries, information flows and human perception. Next, the analogy between such delay models arising in supply networks and other real-life applications is pointed out. It is foreseen that complexity of the problem requires multi-disciplinary research bridging the fields of Industrial Engineering, Business, Systems & Control Engineering and Mathematics. The paper concludes with an illustrative example and discussions of specific challenges to be encountered in future research along the same line.


Author's manuscript of a paper presented at the 17th IFAC World Congress, Seoul Korea, (2008) and published in Proceedings of the 17th World Congress, pp.6330-6335. DOI:10.3182/20080706-5-KR-1001.01068

The alternate title presented here appears on the final published version. Mr. Delice's name appears as a co-author on the final published version.


stability, delays, supply network, modeling, inventory regulation

Subject Categories

Business logistics, Industrial procurement, Delivery of goods


Industrial Engineering | Systems Engineering



Publication Date


Rights Information

© 2008 IFAC

Rights Holder

Rifat Sipahi

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