Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Complementary Perspective of System of Systems in Collaboration, Integration, and Logistics: A Value-Chain Based Paradigm of Supply Chain Management
Systems 2017, 5(4), 50; doi:10.3390/systems5040050 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The importance and complexity of the problems associated with coordinating multiple organizations to configure value propositions for customers has drawn the attention of multiple disciplines. In an effort to clarify and consolidate terms, this conceptual research examines both supply chain management (SCM) and
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The importance and complexity of the problems associated with coordinating multiple organizations to configure value propositions for customers has drawn the attention of multiple disciplines. In an effort to clarify and consolidate terms, this conceptual research examines both supply chain management (SCM) and system of systems (SoS) literature to postulate, from a value-chain perspective, what roles integration and collaboration play in helping supply chains satisfy customer requirements. A literature review analysis was used to identify the commonalities and differences between supply chain management and system of systems approaches to examining interfirm coordination of value creation efforts. Although a framework of integration and collaboration roles in value creation is proposed, further empirical testing of the concept is required to substantiate initial conclusions. The concepts proposed may help clarify where strategic and operational managers need to focus their efforts in coordinating supply chain member firms. The incorporation of SoS engineering into the supply chain field will draw the linkage between the constituent principles, and concepts of Systems Theory as appropriate for the supply chain management field. This is the first effort to reconcile two separate but parallel scholarship streams examining the coordination of multiple organizations in value creation. This research shows that there are some methodologies, principles, and methods from the SoS field that can supplement supply chain management research. Mainly due to a unit of analysis issue, systems based approaches have not been in the mainstream of supply chain management field development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Measure of the Non-Determinacy of a Dynamic Neighborhood Model
Systems 2017, 5(4), 49; doi:10.3390/systems5040049 -
Abstract
In this paper we define a non-deterministic dynamic neighborhood model. As a special case, a linear neighborhood model is considered. When a non-deterministic neighborhood model functions, it is possible to introduce a restriction on the number of active layers, which will allow the
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In this paper we define a non-deterministic dynamic neighborhood model. As a special case, a linear neighborhood model is considered. When a non-deterministic neighborhood model functions, it is possible to introduce a restriction on the number of active layers, which will allow the variation of the non-determinism of the model at each moment of time. We give the notion of the non-determinacy measure and prove that it has the properties of a probability measure. We formulate the problem of reachability with partially specified parameters, layer priorities, and the non-determinacy measure. An algorithm for solving the attainability problem for a neighborhood model with variable indeterminacy and layer priorities is presented. An example of its solution is shown, which shows that when the priorities are compared and the measure of non-determinism is used, the solution of the problem can be obtained more quickly than by a method that does not use priorities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Packageability as an ‘Ility’ for Systems Engineering
Systems 2017, 5(4), 48; doi:10.3390/systems5040048 -
Abstract
The usefulness of packageability as one of the ‘ilities’ for systems engineering was investigated. It was found that packageability plays an important role in a multitude of systems, and it was investigated in several ways. First, a brief analysis showed that at least
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The usefulness of packageability as one of the ‘ilities’ for systems engineering was investigated. It was found that packageability plays an important role in a multitude of systems, and it was investigated in several ways. First, a brief analysis showed that at least two criteria must be met for something to be considered an ility. These criteria are that the ility often manifests itself after the system is deployed, and that the potential ility must not simply be a persistent physical characteristic. It was shown that packageability meets both requirements. Second, six different systems were examined, revealing nine general ways packageability is used. They provide a way for system engineers to recognize packageability as a non-functional system property. The usefulness of packageability as a top-level non-functional system property is shown, as well as for sub-systems and components. A working definition of packageability is then proposed. Finally, a detailed treatment of packageability is presented for radar systems with transmit–receive modules. Packageability was shown to be a useful ility category that can add value to stakeholders, and that captures real system features that are not captured by other ilities. This work demonstrates that packageability should be considered as an ility for systems engineers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
On Using Ilities of Non-Functional Properties for Subsystems and Components
Systems 2017, 5(3), 47; doi:10.3390/systems5030047 -
Abstract
The use of ilities for systems engineering of subsystems and components is investigated. Prior work on ilities has emphasized or restricted their application to system level, non-functional properties. The premise of this work is that ilities can be applied with benefit, and in
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The use of ilities for systems engineering of subsystems and components is investigated. Prior work on ilities has emphasized or restricted their application to system level, non-functional properties. The premise of this work is that ilities can be applied with benefit, and in some cases out of necessity, to lower levels of systems as well. The veracity of this premise is established by providing examples that demonstrate how some ilities are passed and used as a non-functional property of electrical and structural subsystems in aircraft. It is further demonstrated that flowing ilities down to the subsystem level is not only a useful practice for systems engineers, it can also be an essential step to ensure that customer needs are actually met by the system under design or service. Systems engineers often lack the detailed knowledge of the subsystems or components required to translate ilities into functional requirements. Thus, the system ilities are passed down and translated from non-functional to functional requirements by subject matter experts. We first discuss the definition, characteristics and scope of ilities. Then, we formulate the application of ilities at a subsystem level. Next, we show aircraft engineering examples for ilities applications. The application process is formalized with diagrams, and ilities’ relation to system architecture engineering is discussed. The work concludes with a summary and suggestions for future work. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Method for Simplification of Complex Group Causal Loop Diagrams Based on Endogenisation, Encapsulation and Order-Oriented Reduction
Systems 2017, 5(3), 46; doi:10.3390/systems5030046 -
Abstract
Growing complexity represents an issue that can be identified in various disciplines. In system dynamics, causal loop diagrams are used for capturing dynamic nature of modelled systems. Increasing complexity of developed diagrams is associated with the tendency to include more variables into a
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Growing complexity represents an issue that can be identified in various disciplines. In system dynamics, causal loop diagrams are used for capturing dynamic nature of modelled systems. Increasing complexity of developed diagrams is associated with the tendency to include more variables into a model and thus make it more realistic and improve its value. This is even multiplied during group modelling workshops where several perspectives are articulated, shared and complex diagrams developed. This process easily generates complex diagrams that are difficult or even impossible to be comprehended by individuals. As there is a lack of available methods that would help users to cope with growing complexity, this manuscript suggests an original method. The proposed method systematically helps to simplify the complex causal loop diagrams. It is based on three activities iteratively applied during particular steps: endogenisation, encapsulation and order-oriented reduction. Two case studies are used to explain method details, prove its applicability and highlight added value. Case studies include the simplification of both original group causal loop diagram, and group diagram adapted from a study already published in a prestigious journal. Although the presented method has its own limitations, meaningfulness of its application in practice is verified. The method can help to cope with the complexity in any domain, in which causal loop diagrams are used. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ontology-Based Big Data Management
Systems 2017, 5(3), 45; doi:10.3390/systems5030045 -
Abstract
Big data management is no longer an issue for large enterprises only; it has also become a challenge for small and middle-sized enterprises, too. Today, enterprises have to handle business data and processes of increasing complexity that are almost entirely electronic in nature,
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Big data management is no longer an issue for large enterprises only; it has also become a challenge for small and middle-sized enterprises, too. Today, enterprises have to handle business data and processes of increasing complexity that are almost entirely electronic in nature, regardless of enterprises’ size. Enterprises’ information systems need functions based on specific technologies to be able to reduce and interpret the complexity of business data and processes. This paper pursues the question: how can state-of-the-art information systems be improved by the use of semantic technologies, and particularly ontologies? For this purpose, three use cases of information systems that could be improved are described, and approaches based on semantic technologies and ontologies are proposed. The selected use cases relate to data integration, data quality, and business process integration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Systems-Based Framework for Design and Analysis of an R and D Structure
Systems 2017, 5(3), 44; doi:10.3390/systems5030044 -
Abstract
A critical challenge for managerial effectiveness and competitive advantage in research and development (R and D) organizations is developing an appropriate structural configuration. However, in finding an appropriate structural configuration, R and D managers are faced with unprecedented levels of uncertainty, ambiguity, and
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A critical challenge for managerial effectiveness and competitive advantage in research and development (R and D) organizations is developing an appropriate structural configuration. However, in finding an appropriate structural configuration, R and D managers are faced with unprecedented levels of uncertainty, ambiguity, and accelerating complexity, coupled with demands for increased productivity. This paper develops a systems-based framework to support rigorous design, analysis, and transformation of the structure for R and D organizations. The framework development includes: (1) a review of the literature for the nature and role of the structure in R and D management; (2) setting of the R and D structure problem from a systems perspective; (3) establishing a systems view of R and D structure; (4) articulation of a systems-based framework for R and D structure drawing on management cybernetics and systems theory; and (5) an application of the framework to design the structure for a multidisciplinary R and D center. The paper concludes with implications and utility of the framework for practicing R and D managers challenged with structuring an R and D organization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Examining the Use of Systemic Approach for Adoption of Systems Thinking in Organizations
Systems 2017, 5(3), 43; doi:10.3390/systems5030043 -
Abstract
The need for systems thinking (ST) in organizations is being increasingly felt, and sustained effort towards nurturing ST in organizations is still rare. Some companies that tried it earlier were not so successful. One of the reasons for this problem is that the
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The need for systems thinking (ST) in organizations is being increasingly felt, and sustained effort towards nurturing ST in organizations is still rare. Some companies that tried it earlier were not so successful. One of the reasons for this problem is that the implementation is done more with a reductionist mindset rather than a systemic mindset. It is no doubt challenging for managers so accustomed to reductionist thinking to cultivate the habits of systems thinking. This paper examines the use of a systemic approach for the successful adoption of systems thinking in organizations. The systemic approach needs a good system model for the systematic guidance of the implementation. The systemic model used in this study is a spirit, mind, and body model (SMB)—a holistic model taken from the spiritual lore which emphasizes the need for the alignment of spirit, mind, and body in order to achieve human excellence. We extended this model for use in an organizational context, and defined the systems of the spirit, systems of the mind, and systems of the body for an organization. Systems of the spirit are related to the leadership system, systems of the mind to the learning and change management systems, and systems of the body to the supporting systems such as tools and technology. We used such a model earlier to explain the suboptimal results in the implementation of capability maturity models (CMM) in software companies in India. In this paper, we used this model to explain the rather unsatisfactory results in the implementation of ST in companies like Ford and the satisfactory results in the implementation of “work out” at GE. “Work out” is a five-step process in which ST is a prominent step. We argued whether “work out” can be a good warm-up step that can prepare the organization for successful ST implementation. The study shows that the SMB framework is helpful in conducting an intelligent discourse about the implementation of ST-like initiatives in companies and has excellent potential for use as a guide for ST implementation in organizations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Sustainability Key Factors Based on Capturing Dominant Feedbacks of Behavioural Stereotypes in Socio-Economic Systems
Systems 2017, 5(2), 42; doi:10.3390/systems5020042 -
Abstract
Sustainability represents a system attribute that is widely investigated in many disciplines. System dynamics is mostly used for modelling specific issues. Not only can this methodology be used for this purpose, it can also be applied for the identification of behavioural stereotypes and
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Sustainability represents a system attribute that is widely investigated in many disciplines. System dynamics is mostly used for modelling specific issues. Not only can this methodology be used for this purpose, it can also be applied for the identification of behavioural stereotypes and consequent designation of variables that shape sustainability of the system. Based on the set of interviews with a sample of socio-economic system representatives, stereotypes are captured and modelled with the help of causal loop diagrams. After several modelling iterations that synchronised the acquired models with the obtained responses, four main key stereotypes were identified-quality, ego, competence, and motivation. Both dominant feedback loops and important multi-input and multi-output variables are used for their description. Thus, the models provide an endogenous explanation of their importance for sustainability and help to identify its key factors. Full article
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Open AccessConcept Paper
A Systems Model to Make, Market, and Lead Your Way towards Sustained Growth
Systems 2017, 5(2), 41; doi:10.3390/systems5020041 -
Abstract
Business enterprises exist in a world that is fiercely competitive, tied with huge global uncertainties. They always encounter increasing pressure on prices and margins. Hence, irrespective of their domain of operations and industry, businesses are naturally concerned about their growth, specifically sustained profitable
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Business enterprises exist in a world that is fiercely competitive, tied with huge global uncertainties. They always encounter increasing pressure on prices and margins. Hence, irrespective of their domain of operations and industry, businesses are naturally concerned about their growth, specifically sustained profitable growth, in today’s world. Marketing is a key business function to market and lead a business towards sustained profitable growth but the problem is it lacks a systems perspective in its operations, strategy, and practice. Further, given the confluence and systemic interactions of various economic, digital, and competitive forces; the challenge for different business functions—including marketing—increases tremendously. In this context, it is important for business enterprises to have a systems perspective to find their ways to growth that will be sustained. This calls for a holistic approach to assimilate and steer the business functions in any enterprise. The present conceptual paper focuses on an important business function for sustained growth in a holistic way and presents a systems model, called ‘Value Based Business Approach (VBBA)-marketing’, which has potential to guide and steer companies and business enterprises to create a path for their sustained profitable growth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Multi-Methodological Approach to Complex Problem Solving: The Case of Serbian Enterprise
Systems 2017, 5(2), 40; doi:10.3390/systems5020040 -
Abstract
Increasing complexity and diversity of management problems in modern enterprises requires the increasing diversity of models, methods, and methodologies. In creatively dealing with these complex, changeable and multidimensional management problems, i.e., problem situations, different systems methodologies for problem situations, structuring have been developed.
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Increasing complexity and diversity of management problems in modern enterprises requires the increasing diversity of models, methods, and methodologies. In creatively dealing with these complex, changeable and multidimensional management problems, i.e., problem situations, different systems methodologies for problem situations, structuring have been developed. Since no methodology is able to explore all aspects of the complex problems in enterprises, the topic of this paper is a multi-methodology approach that implies combining selected systems methodologies (Strategic Assumptions Surfacing and Testing, Team Syntegrity and Organizational Cybernetics) within a particular intervention. Therefore, research in the paper is relied on Critical Systems Thinking as a conceptual framework for combined use of systems methodologies. The paper aims to demonstrate how mixing the selected systems methodologies and tools can help managers in solving complex problems, such as the issues of strategy formulation and implementation in enterprises. Accordingly, combining these methodologies to support strategy formulation and implementation is applied to a Serbian enterprise. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Communities of Practice as Systems: The Case of TEALEAF
Systems 2017, 5(2), 39; doi:10.3390/systems5020039 -
Abstract
This work provides an update to the Erasmus Plus TEALEAF project. The outcomes of a week-long EU-funded/Irish Government-recognized teacher course in July 2016 is described within the context of a qualitative small-scale study investigating teachers’ progress in the course. The explicit aim of
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This work provides an update to the Erasmus Plus TEALEAF project. The outcomes of a week-long EU-funded/Irish Government-recognized teacher course in July 2016 is described within the context of a qualitative small-scale study investigating teachers’ progress in the course. The explicit aim of the teacher course was to equip a diverse group of teachers with the initial tools to work to produce simple digital apps for learning about biodiversity in their respective domains. A community of practice seeks to establish a new concept of the pre-existing generalised collective conscience through triangulated conversation between the generalised and particularised collective and individual consciences; in particular, to revise the generalised collective conscience that teachers can program apps for learning about biodiversity. A number of features of teaching and learning were selected in general and their relationship to constructivism delineated. The teachers were prompted for their responses to each day of the course through a self-evaluation tool and the responses were ranked according to the rubric. The data was analyzed using multidimensional scaling—ASCAL procedure—in SPSS 23TM and within the repertory grid domain according to the RepSocio tool in Rep 5TM. The plots show a gradual development throughout the week in terms of specific features becoming ‘stronger’ or exerting more influence towards the middle of the course and fragmenting after that. Analyses were able to show which participants correlated most closely with the hypothetical ideal within the community of practice. Concerning this community of practice, the interrelationships within the community are determined using a social mapping exercise moving from the individual consciences to a particularised collective conscience. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Actor: The Key Determinator in Service Ecosystems
Systems 2017, 5(2), 38; doi:10.3390/systems5020038 -
Abstract
Most descriptions of service ecosystems, which provide the foundations for value co-creation, focus on resource integration. In contrast, this article emphasizes the actor’s key role as the foundation resource for value co-creation by looking at both societal- and individual-focused realms, which include the
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Most descriptions of service ecosystems, which provide the foundations for value co-creation, focus on resource integration. In contrast, this article emphasizes the actor’s key role as the foundation resource for value co-creation by looking at both societal- and individual-focused realms, which include the different social aspects of service ecosystems. Institutional arrangements, positions, schemas as mental models, and practices constitute the basis realms influencing the actor in his or her value creation. Societal- and individual-focused realms are dual structures that are in constant interaction. The interdependency of the realms is made apparent through the service ecosystem’s ability to define how resources are understood, assessed, and applied. A thorough examination of the realms that influence the actors embedded in service ecosystems suggests that social forces guide and are guided by actors. This article offers six guidelines for understanding the vital role of actors in service ecosystems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Service Innovations in the Healthcare Service Ecosystem: A Case Study
Systems 2017, 5(2), 37; doi:10.3390/systems5020037 -
Abstract
In the service economy, scholars and practitioners are even more focused on the development and appliance of innovative services. The importance of service innovation is rising in many sectors and among different organizations. Several disciplines (e.g., marketing, management, operations research, etc.) deal with
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In the service economy, scholars and practitioners are even more focused on the development and appliance of innovative services. The importance of service innovation is rising in many sectors and among different organizations. Several disciplines (e.g., marketing, management, operations research, etc.) deal with this innovation, a concept widely used, but with different definitions. In this paper, service innovation has been analyzed according to the Service Dominant Logic (S-D Logic) and a service ecosystem perspective. The literature still calls for a greater understanding of how a new or renewed combination of resources affects the shaping of service ecosystems. To contribute to filling this gap, this study explores the practices that different actors, enact to co-create value in novel ways; i.e., service innovation. The paper is structured as follows. In the first section, the main academic contributions on service research have been reviewed, focusing on healthcare service innovation. This is followed by the research method and discussion of the research findings. Finally, the theoretical and managerial implications have been detailed and an agenda for future research suggested. The paper offers interesting insights to develop new or renewed practices that foster the reshaping and maintaining of a healthcare service ecosystem. Some recommendations are included to support managers in the development of service innovation strategies. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Inside Out: Organizations as Service Systems Equipped with Relational Boundaries
Systems 2017, 5(2), 36; doi:10.3390/systems5020036 -
Abstract
Currently, literature on organizational boundaries is at the center of a heated debate, characterized by a shift from a transactional approach to a broader immaterial perspective centered on the concept of boundless organizations. However, the overestimation of the effects of contemporary dematerialization on
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Currently, literature on organizational boundaries is at the center of a heated debate, characterized by a shift from a transactional approach to a broader immaterial perspective centered on the concept of boundless organizations. However, the overestimation of the effects of contemporary dematerialization on business processes can lead to the progressive neglect of the existence of corporate borders. In light of this consideration, the present work aims at proposing a new type of criterion for defining organizational boundaries, halfway between the conception of the firm’s total openness and total closure. To this end, the authors envisage the use of a new interpretive logic defined as “relational”, resulting from the specification of the systemic view (and as the sum of the logic underlying the viable systems approach (VSA)). This approach views the definition of boundaries. Therefore, in the large and intricate scenery of the studies dedicated to organizational boundaries, this work contributes to a better understanding of border selection as an interactive and changeable process capable of pushing organizations towards a greater awareness of their strategic dimension. This paper also offers some insights for future research, suggesting that both scholars and professionals investigate, firstly, new frontiers for the identification of organizational boundaries and, secondly, the possible positive repercussions that new organizational redesign modes could determine for a greater competitive success. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Re-Conceptualization of the Port Supply Chain as a Smart Port Service System: The Case of the Port of Salerno
Systems 2017, 5(2), 35; doi:10.3390/systems5020035 -
Abstract
This paper proposes a re-conceptualization of the port supply chain as a smart service system, in accordance with the theory of service science. Starting from a short literature review about the port supply chain approach and service science, a new comprehensive framework is
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This paper proposes a re-conceptualization of the port supply chain as a smart service system, in accordance with the theory of service science. Starting from a short literature review about the port supply chain approach and service science, a new comprehensive framework is provided to better understand seaport dynamics and the creation of competitive port supply chains. The methodology used is the case study approach. The Authors examined the Port of Salerno (Italy) and re-conceptualized it as a smart port service system. The originality of the work lies in the application of service science as a lens to re-conceptualize the port supply chain, that allows the implementation of a logistic framework. Both theoretical and practical implications are provided to enrich the literature about port supply chains and to support port operators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Proposing a Process-Oriented Systems Research for Systems Thinking Development
Systems 2017, 5(2), 34; doi:10.3390/systems5020034 -
Abstract
This paper discusses systems thinking development from Churchman’s systems ideas related to critical systems practice that appreciates the use of systems methods from sociolinguistic perspectives and poststructuralist thought. Systems research enabled us to understand and reinterpret Churchman’s philosophy and systems approach through the
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This paper discusses systems thinking development from Churchman’s systems ideas related to critical systems practice that appreciates the use of systems methods from sociolinguistic perspectives and poststructuralist thought. Systems research enabled us to understand and reinterpret Churchman’s philosophy and systems approach through the works of Deleuze and Foucault. Based upon the interpretation of Churchman’s philosophy and systems approach, I propose ‘process-oriented systems research’ developed from the use of social appreciative process and Churchman’s metasystem approach. By applying a metasystem approach into practice, I basically appreciate Deleuzian ethics and Foucault’s theory of discourse in order to deal with issues of power and knowledge, and metaethics or moral epistemology, where the meaning of good or bad is discussed. A detailed account of an application of process-oriented systems research is given to demonstrate how I use systems methods to examine the usefulness of the systems research in practice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Developing a Framework for Traceability Implementation in the Textile Supply Chain
Systems 2017, 5(2), 33; doi:10.3390/systems5020033 -
Abstract
Traceability has recently gained considerable attention in the textile industry. Traceability stands for information sharing about a product including the product history, specification, or location. With the involvement of globally dispersed actors in the textile supply chain, ensuring appropriate product quality with timely
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Traceability has recently gained considerable attention in the textile industry. Traceability stands for information sharing about a product including the product history, specification, or location. With the involvement of globally dispersed actors in the textile supply chain, ensuring appropriate product quality with timely supplies is crucial for surviving in this industry with ever increasing competition. Hence it is of paramount importance for a supply chain actor to track every product and trace its history in the supply chain. In this context, this paper presents a framework to implement traceability in the textile supply chain. A system approach has been followed, where firstly the usage requirement of traceability is defined, and then a framework for implementing intra-actor or internal traceability and inter-actor or external traceability is discussed. This article further presents a sequential diagram to demonstrate the interaction and information exchange between the actors in the supply chain, when the traceability information is requested. An example is also illustrated for data storage using a relational database management system and information exchange using XML for the textile weaver. Finally, the article discusses challenges and future studies required to implement traceability in the textile supply chain. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
On the Complexity of the Universal Order in Vico’s Establishing Principles
Systems 2017, 5(2), 31; doi:10.3390/systems5020031 -
Abstract
In his seminal work The Principles of a New Science of the Common Nature of Nations (Principii di una scienza nuova d’intorno alla natura delle nazioni, published in 1725 then again in 1730 and posthumously in 1744), Giambattista Vico (Born in 1668) wrote
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In his seminal work The Principles of a New Science of the Common Nature of Nations (Principii di una scienza nuova d’intorno alla natura delle nazioni, published in 1725 then again in 1730 and posthumously in 1744), Giambattista Vico (Born in 1668) wrote to qualify the scientific to include the humanities and their complexity beyond the popular Cartesian circumscription within the laws of physics—divinely instituted and set in motion—in describing its phenomena. The work is, for one, a manifesto of the essential complexity inherent in universal order, and against a reduction of scholarship to the pure sciences, in which elimination is key. Vico proposed a structure that afforded the organic integration of the humanities within the laws of physics as parts of “a tree of knowledge” whose trunk branched out into a progression toward certainty, drawn out of the most fluid humanities at the roots, in an order of premise and conclusion. The tree metaphor is the juncture of early moments of disparity and interdependence between complexity, on the one hand, and certainty on the other. Starting at the unknown, the immeasurably immense ultimate uncertainty, perception is shaped through fear, self-protection and subject to survival instincts. And so, crude metaphysics makes the trunk rooted in “poetic wisdom” with a natural mixture of limited sensuous cognition and unlimited imagination—or one striving beyond the fetters of immediate reality, logic, ethics, economics and politics which are all poetic sciences to Vico—branch out. On the other side of those branches, physics extends into chronology and geography—the most certain—in agreement that the faculties of the human mind, including imagination, may not be outside of physics: the trunk from whence all knowledge cometh, and by the laws of which life is governed. Past validating human uncertainty as a measure of complexity—not lack of knowledge—in scientific inquiry, key concepts in Vico’s The New Science, such as imagination, reason, creativity and science, maintain pressing relevance to examining complexity today, enabling consideration of their relevance between Vico’s time and today, while maintaining that the uncertainty of imagination and the pragmatism of physics are but facets of the equally plausible constitution of a universal order. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Service Ecosystems Supporting High Reliability Assets
Systems 2017, 5(2), 32; doi:10.3390/systems5020032 -
Abstract
The owners/operators of complex assets such as production systems, military equipment and power stations aim to achieve high reliability with financial sustainability over long periods of time, and rely on a combination of internal and external socio-technical support systems to achieve this. Changes
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The owners/operators of complex assets such as production systems, military equipment and power stations aim to achieve high reliability with financial sustainability over long periods of time, and rely on a combination of internal and external socio-technical support systems to achieve this. Changes in the operational environment and technological advances may stimulate the need/opportunity for innovative reconfiguration of the assets and/or the related support systems. These assets and their support arrangements may be regarded as elements of a broader industry ecosystem. Drawing on analogies with natural ecosystems suggested in the literature, a concept of a service ecosystem is presented. Ten service system, management, engineering and design (SSMED) concepts elaborated by Spohrer and Kwan are represented in operational terms by interlinked networks of actors, of resources and of activities whose interconnections may change dynamically, combined with a business model perspective that indicates why particular configurations might make sense. Six support system case studies illustrate how effective service ecosystems are informed by multiple viewpoints including reliability assurance, business models and linkages with context-specific knowledge networks to stimulate the identification of innovative support solution architectures. Full article
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