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Systems, Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2016) – 16 articles

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Open AccessCommunication
Towards a Multidisciplinary Approach on Creating Value: Sustainability through the Supply Chain and ERP Systems
Systems 2016, 4(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010016 - 11 Mar 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4560
Abstract
Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) is a widely used approach through manufacturing environments in a variety of sectors. With a tendency to go to specialized, smaller lot sizes in several industries (e.g., the pharmaceutical sector), companies are dealing with capacity bottlenecks if the planning [...] Read more.
Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) is a widely used approach through manufacturing environments in a variety of sectors. With a tendency to go to specialized, smaller lot sizes in several industries (e.g., the pharmaceutical sector), companies are dealing with capacity bottlenecks if the planning rhythm wheel is not well calibrated or when production lines are not flexible enough in terms of changeover (C/O) and set-up times (S/U) (OEE is too small). A well-established communication system including other enterprise resources or production factors (e.g., Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP) is favorable to any extent. More and more questions arise from stakeholder communities and end-users on whether or not supply chains and manufacturing environments are sustainable and safe. Departments such as Environmental Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHS & S) and Product Stewardship are too often at the “blind” side of the ICT interface. When it comes to product and organizational sustainability, data seems to be lacking in order to conduct sustainability assessments proficiently. Years of intensive research and experience proved that primary data to perform sustainability assessments often are measured through equipment control sensors (e.g., flow rates, temperatures, etc.) and sent to PLCs and many other systems. Nevertheless, these data measurements are in many cases simply not penetrating through the Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) because these bottom-up engineering data seems to be of little value to planning, procurement, etc. This communication paper deals with how sustainability assessments can be embedded in business operational management systems. After all, who does not want a “live Carbon Footprint” for process improvements and external sustainability reporting instead of a series of expensive resource consuming studies of 4 to 6 months digging into data logs in traditional Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)? This communication paper has taken one step further in coupling business ERP systems with environmental sustainability of products, services and enterprises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enterprise Resource Planning Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
When Easy Becomes Boring and Difficult Becomes Frustrating: Disentangling the Effects of Item Difficulty Level and Person Proficiency on Learning and Motivation
Systems 2016, 4(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010014 - 03 Mar 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3621
Abstract
The research on electronic learning environments has evolved towards creating adaptive learning environments. In this study, the focus is on adaptive curriculum sequencing, in particular, the efficacy of an adaptive curriculum sequencing algorithm based on matching the item difficulty level to the learner’s [...] Read more.
The research on electronic learning environments has evolved towards creating adaptive learning environments. In this study, the focus is on adaptive curriculum sequencing, in particular, the efficacy of an adaptive curriculum sequencing algorithm based on matching the item difficulty level to the learner’s proficiency level. We therefore explored the effect of the relative difficulty level on learning outcome and motivation. Results indicate that, for learning environments consisting of questions focusing on just one dimension and with knowledge of correct response, it does not matter whether we present easy, moderate or difficult items or whether we present the items with a random mix of difficulty levels, regarding both learning and motivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptive Educational Technology Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Optimization Models for Scheduling in Enterprise Resource Planning Systems
Systems 2016, 4(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010015 - 01 Mar 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3297
Abstract
Companies often use specially-designed production systems and change them from time to time. They produce small batches in order to satisfy specific demands with the least tardiness. This imposes high demands on high-performance scheduling algorithms which can be rapidly adapted to changes in [...] Read more.
Companies often use specially-designed production systems and change them from time to time. They produce small batches in order to satisfy specific demands with the least tardiness. This imposes high demands on high-performance scheduling algorithms which can be rapidly adapted to changes in the production system. As a solution, this paper proposes a generic approach: solutions were obtained using a widely-used commercially-available tool for solving linear optimization models, which is available in an Enterprise Resource Planning System (in the SAP system for example) or can be connected to it. In a real-world application of a flow shop with special restrictions this approach is successfully used on a standard personal computer. Thus, the main implication is that optimal scheduling with a commercially-available tool, incorporated in an Enterprise Resource Planning System, may be the best approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enterprise Resource Planning Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Non-Conscious vs. Deliberate Dynamic Decision-Making—A Pilot Experiment
Systems 2016, 4(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010013 - 24 Feb 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3296
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of non-conscious vs. deliberate ways of making decisions in a dynamic decision-making task. An experimental setting is used to study this question; three experimental groups are distinguished: immediate decision-making (only very limited time [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of non-conscious vs. deliberate ways of making decisions in a dynamic decision-making task. An experimental setting is used to study this question; three experimental groups are distinguished: immediate decision-making (only very limited time for deliberate cognitive processing), considerate decision-making (relatively long time for deliberate cognitive processing), and distracted decision-making (time for non-conscious cognitive processing only). As experimental stimulus, a simulator based on the Kaibab Plateau model was employed. With a sample size of more than 100 experimental participants, group differences are not significant for most data examined. Implications comprise the formulation of a framework to guide further research. The value of this paper lies in the fact that it connects to a recent discussion in psychology and transfers it to a domain in the core interest of the system community: decision-making in situations with dynamic complexity. Furthermore, it offers a range of improvement points for potential follow-up studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Decision Making in Controlled Experiments)
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Open AccessArticle
Accounting Treatment for Carbon Emission Rights
Systems 2016, 4(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010012 - 06 Feb 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3267
Abstract
In light of the growing demand for sustainable behavior and the special interest that has emerged regarding the social and environmental impact of firms, the purpose of this research is to analyze the determinants of the accounting treatment of emission rights. To achieve [...] Read more.
In light of the growing demand for sustainable behavior and the special interest that has emerged regarding the social and environmental impact of firms, the purpose of this research is to analyze the determinants of the accounting treatment of emission rights. To achieve that purpose, we use a sample composed of 119 firms worldwide from different countries and activity sectors for the period 2011. Our findings show different accounting treatments depending on a series of factors. Specifically, firms pertaining to countries that have adopted Environmental Trading Schemes (ETS) tend to account for emission rights through provisions, investments, or as inventory. For their part, firms that issue indicators that appear in the report drawn up by KPMG and GRI (2007) tend to account for these entries as expenses, especially as R + D expenses. Finally, firms located in countries that signed the Kyoto protocol have a tendency to not account for carbon emission rights. The findings of this work can be considered of great interest on the international level because our research contributes to the scant previous literature regarding the accounting treatment of emission rights. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Relation of Shadow Systems and ERP Systems—Insights from a Multiple-Case Study
Systems 2016, 4(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010011 - 29 Jan 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3653
Abstract
ERP systems integrate a major part of all business processes and organizations include them in their IT service management. Besides these formal systems, there are additional systems that are rather stand-alone and not included in the IT management tasks. These so-called ‘shadow systems’ [...] Read more.
ERP systems integrate a major part of all business processes and organizations include them in their IT service management. Besides these formal systems, there are additional systems that are rather stand-alone and not included in the IT management tasks. These so-called ‘shadow systems’ also support business processes but hinder a high enterprise integration. Shadow systems appear during their explicit detection or during software maintenance projects such as enhancements or release changes of enterprise systems. Organizations then have to decide if and to what extent they integrate the identified shadow systems into their ERP systems. For this decision, organizations have to compare the capabilities of each identified shadow system with their ERP systems. Based on multiple-case studies, we provide a dependency approach to enable their comparison. We derive categories for different stages of the dependency and base insights into integration possibilities on these stages. Our results show that 64% of the shadow systems in our case studies are related to ERP systems. This means that they share parts or all of their data and/or functionality with the ERP system. Our research contributes to the field of integration as well as to the discussion about shadow systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enterprise Resource Planning Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
“Space, the Final Frontier”: How Good are Agent-Based Models at Simulating Individuals and Space in Cities?
Systems 2016, 4(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010009 - 26 Jan 2016
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 4574
Abstract
Cities are complex systems, comprising of many interacting parts. How we simulate and understand causality in urban systems is continually evolving. Over the last decade the agent-based modeling (ABM) paradigm has provided a new lens for understanding the effects of interactions of individuals [...] Read more.
Cities are complex systems, comprising of many interacting parts. How we simulate and understand causality in urban systems is continually evolving. Over the last decade the agent-based modeling (ABM) paradigm has provided a new lens for understanding the effects of interactions of individuals and how through such interactions macro structures emerge, both in the social and physical environment of cities. However, such a paradigm has been hindered due to computational power and a lack of large fine scale datasets. Within the last few years we have witnessed a massive increase in computational processing power and storage, combined with the onset of Big Data. Today geographers find themselves in a data rich era. We now have access to a variety of data sources (e.g., social media, mobile phone data, etc.) that tells us how, and when, individuals are using urban spaces. These data raise several questions: can we effectively use them to understand and model cities as complex entities? How well have ABM approaches lent themselves to simulating the dynamics of urban processes? What has been, or will be, the influence of Big Data on increasing our ability to understand and simulate cities? What is the appropriate level of spatial analysis and time frame to model urban phenomena? Within this paper we discuss these questions using several examples of ABM applied to urban geography to begin a dialogue about the utility of ABM for urban modeling. The arguments that the paper raises are applicable across the wider research environment where researchers are considering using this approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling of City Systems)
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Open AccessTechnical Note
An Approach to Represent and Communicate Product or System Design Ideas at the Fuzzy-Front End of the Design Process
Systems 2016, 4(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010008 - 26 Jan 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3643
Abstract
The primary challenge underscored and dealt with was how to represent the product’s or system’s use environment and processes and to communicate ideas and envisaged use contexts effectively at the fuzzy-front early stages of the design process. The work focused specifically on complex [...] Read more.
The primary challenge underscored and dealt with was how to represent the product’s or system’s use environment and processes and to communicate ideas and envisaged use contexts effectively at the fuzzy-front early stages of the design process. The work focused specifically on complex products or systems with physical, software and/or cyber components, and the question was how to represent, e.g., the operations of the product or system and the interactions between the user and the product or system betimes in the period between when an opportunity for a new product or system is first considered, and when the idea is judged to be ready to enter formal development. Several approaches are currently being used to express and to communicate ideas at the conceptualization, embodiment, and detail design stages of the design process, but none of them address the challenge described above. We therefore adapted and extended the abstract prototyping concept to allow for total representation of ideas, as well as of use environments and processes early on. Extended abstract prototyping (Ext-AP) entails using combinations of low and high-fidelity prototyping techniques to create cognitive virtual representations, which represent and help designers to express ideas and use contexts—namely, what complex product or system would be like, and how its users would interact with it. Real-world product development case studies have been used to demonstrate how the Ext-AP technique can be put into practice. One of the main observations from the application case studies is that the Ext-AP technique enabled the subjects to express ideas and use contexts more effectively early on. In addition, the extended abstract prototypes (Ext-APs) offered a low cost, yet effective solution for expressing ideas, representing concepts and using contexts, and allowed the subjects to think divergently, make associations, easily and quickly construct, combine, and evaluate alternatives, and work together on multiple ideas simultaneously. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Product, Process, System Design Review Methods and Tools)
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Open AccessArticle
Challenges while Updating Planning Parameters of an ERP System and How a Simulation-Based Support System Can Support Material Planners
Systems 2016, 4(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010010 - 26 Jan 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3397
Abstract
In an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, production planning is influenced by a variety of parameters. Previous investigations show that setting parameter values is highly relevant to a company’s target system. Parameter settings should be checked and adjusted, e.g., after a change in [...] Read more.
In an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, production planning is influenced by a variety of parameters. Previous investigations show that setting parameter values is highly relevant to a company’s target system. Parameter settings should be checked and adjusted, e.g., after a change in environmental factors, by material planners. In practice, updating the parameters is difficult due to several reasons. This paper presents a simulation-based decision support system, which helps material planners in all stages of decision-making processes. It will present the system prototype’s user interface and the results of applying the system to a case study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enterprise Resource Planning Systems)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Systems in 2015
Systems 2016, 4(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010007 - 22 Jan 2016
Viewed by 2481
Abstract
The editors of Systems would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2015. [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Hierarchical Aggregation Approach for Indicators Based on Data Envelopment Analysis and Analytic Hierarchy Process
Systems 2016, 4(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010006 - 20 Jan 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3307
Abstract
This research proposes a hierarchical aggregation approach using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) for indicators. The core logic of the proposed approach is to reflect the hierarchical structures of indicators and their relative priorities in constructing composite indicators (CIs), [...] Read more.
This research proposes a hierarchical aggregation approach using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) for indicators. The core logic of the proposed approach is to reflect the hierarchical structures of indicators and their relative priorities in constructing composite indicators (CIs), simultaneously. Under hierarchical structures, the indicators of similar characteristics can be grouped into sub-categories and further into categories. According to this approach, we define a domain of composite losses, i.e., a reduction in CI values, based on two sets of weights. The first set represents the weights of indicators for each Decision Making Unit (DMU) with the minimal composite loss, and the second set represents the weights of indicators bounded by AHP with the maximal composite loss. Using a parametric distance model, we explore various ranking positions for DMUs while the indicator weights obtained from a three-level DEA-based CI model shift towards the corresponding weights bounded by AHP. An illustrative example of road safety performance indicators (SPIs) for a set of European countries highlights the usefulness of the proposed approach. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Intra-Urban Accessibility and Impacts of Pollution Policies with an Agent-Based Simulation Platform: GaMiroD
Systems 2016, 4(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010005 - 18 Jan 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 5130
Abstract
In this work we address the issue of sustainable cities by focusing on one of their very central components: daily mobility. Indeed, if cities can be interpreted as spatial organizations allowing social interactions, the number of daily movements needed to reach this goal [...] Read more.
In this work we address the issue of sustainable cities by focusing on one of their very central components: daily mobility. Indeed, if cities can be interpreted as spatial organizations allowing social interactions, the number of daily movements needed to reach this goal is continuously increasing. Therefore, improving urban accessibility merely results in increasing traffic and its negative externalities (congestion, accidents, pollution, noise, etc.), while eventually reducing the quality of life of people in the city. This is why several urban-transport policies are implemented in order to reduce individual mobility impacts while maintaining equitable access to the city. This challenge is however non-trivial and therefore we propose to investigate this issue from the complex systems point of view. The real spatial-temporal urban accessibility of citizens cannot be approximated just by focusing on space and implies taking into account the space-time activity patterns of individuals, in a more dynamic way. Thus, given the importance of local interactions in such a perspective, an agent based approach seems to be a relevant solution. This kind of individual based and “interactionist” approach allows us to explore the possible impact of individual behaviors on the overall dynamics of the city but also the possible impact of global measures on individual behaviors. In this paper, we give an overview of the Miro Project and then focus on the GaMiroD model design from real data analysis to model exploration tuned by transportation-oriented scenarios. Among them, we start with the the impact of a LEZ (Low Emission Zone) in the city center. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling of City Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Dynamic Decision-Making of Virtual Humans
Systems 2016, 4(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010004 - 15 Jan 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3704
Abstract
Imagine a person visiting an urban event. At each moment in time, the person has to weigh up different possible actions and make consecutive decisions. For instance, a person might be hungry or thirsty and would therefore like to go somewhere to eat [...] Read more.
Imagine a person visiting an urban event. At each moment in time, the person has to weigh up different possible actions and make consecutive decisions. For instance, a person might be hungry or thirsty and would therefore like to go somewhere to eat or to drink, or a person might need to go to the toilet and thus go searching for the restrooms. Other possible desires might be to go dancing or to have a rest due to exhaustion. All these examples can be seen in the context of dynamic decision-making. To be able to implement the dynamic decision-making of virtual humans living their lives in a persistent microworld, an advanced concept to solve this—in artificial intelligence research commonly called action selection problem—is required. This article focuses on an novel approach to model the activation of motivations—as an attempt to answer the recurring question of the virtual humans “What to do next?”. The novelty is to use System Dynamics, in general defined as a top-down simulation approach, from the bottom-up inside each instance of the agent population and to implement an action selection mechanism on the basis of this methodology. This approach enables us to model the dynamic decision-making of the virtual humans with stocks and flows resulting in nonlinear motivation evolution. A case study in the context of an urban event documents the application of this innovative method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Decision Making in Controlled Experiments)
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Open AccessArticle
An Approach for Analyzing the Vulnerability of Small Family Businesses
Systems 2016, 4(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010003 - 08 Jan 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3099
Abstract
In a given operating environment, small family businesses typically have fewer resources to minimize vulnerability. Identifying this exposure is basic to strategic analysis and, potentially, public policy analysis. This can become even more important when structural change in the environment is expected while [...] Read more.
In a given operating environment, small family businesses typically have fewer resources to minimize vulnerability. Identifying this exposure is basic to strategic analysis and, potentially, public policy analysis. This can become even more important when structural change in the environment is expected while its exact character is not known. The implications of climate change for Australian family farms are an example. This paper reports a study designed to analyse the vulnerability of dairy farms in Victoria, Australia. The study draws on production control (applied general systems) theory, value chains and image theory to capture comprehensively the lock-in arising from salient past decisions and impact on the current business structure and strategy. This is the path dependence that defines the constraints and associated options available to small family businesses. The authors identify benefits associated with the use of dynamic analysis of vulnerability over static analysis. Generalizable implications regarding analysis of vulnerability in small family businesses are offered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Thinking and Management Sciences Methodologies)
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Open AccessArticle
A Research on Active Control to Synchronize a New 3D Chaotic System
Systems 2016, 4(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010002 - 28 Dec 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2791
Abstract
This paper presents the robust synchronization problem of a 3D chaotic system by using the active control technique. Based on the Gershgorin theorem and Routh-Hurwitz criterion, sufficient algebraic conditions are derived to design a linear controller gain matrix. The conditions are then applied [...] Read more.
This paper presents the robust synchronization problem of a 3D chaotic system by using the active control technique. Based on the Gershgorin theorem and Routh-Hurwitz criterion, sufficient algebraic conditions are derived to design a linear controller gain matrix. The conditions are then applied for the robust stability of the synchronization error dynamics in the presence of an unknown bounded smooth external disturbance. The proposed active control strategy with a suitable computation of the linear controller gain matrix is simple in design and establishes fast convergence rates of the synchronization error signals. Numerical simulation results further verified the analytical results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effective Presentation Speech Support System for Representing Emphasis-Intention
Systems 2016, 4(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems4010001 - 23 Dec 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3471
Abstract
A research presentation integrates slides and speech. If these two aspects do not represent the same intention, the presentation will probably fail to effectively explain the presenter’s intention. This paper focuses on the representation of the critical contents in a presentation. In an [...] Read more.
A research presentation integrates slides and speech. If these two aspects do not represent the same intention, the presentation will probably fail to effectively explain the presenter’s intention. This paper focuses on the representation of the critical contents in a presentation. In an effective speech, the speaker adds more intonation and stress to emphasize the importance of the slide contents. Audiences recognize that important contents are those that are explained in a stronger voice or that are said after a short pause. However, in ineffective speeches, such voice effects do not always correspond to the important contents that are indicated by slides. On slides, the important contents are represented by levels of text indentation and size, color, and animation. This research develops a presentation speech support system that estimates important contents from slides and voices that might be recognized by audiences and extracts numerical differences. In addition, the system provides comments and feedback to improve speeches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptive Educational Technology Systems)
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