The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

An Effective Tool for Supply Chain Decision Support During New Product Development Process

Teemu Tynjälä

Doctoral dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the School of Science for public examination and debate in Auditorium AS1 at the Aalto University School of Science (Espoo, Finland) on the 7th of October 2011 at 12 noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 978-952-60-4255-8)   [1552 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-952-60-4254-1)


The global marketplace has transformed supply chain design into a discipline which requires business sense supported by mathematical expertise. Several methods have been introduced to support supply chain design, most notably mixed integer programming. The current methods are tailor-made for situations where a product's bill-of-material is fixed. However, this assumption does not hold during product development where several competing product designs exist. Therefore this research investigates the question of what is an effective way to support supply chain decisions during new product development. The study is divided into four research questions, corresponding to the articles from which the dissertation is compiled: (1) Does a product structure-driven method exist for modeling and analyzing supply chains? (2) If such a method is discovered, what is its mathematical formulation? (3) Is there evidence to support the theoretical and practical usability of such a method? (4) How can strategic supply chain decisions be validated?

Regarding question (1) the research finds that there is a shortage of methods that fulfill supply chain modeling and analysis requirements imposed by new product development process. During the research a Petri-net based method was constructed which satisfies these requirements. For question (2), the formal definitions of the constructed Petri net class are provided. Regarding question (3), the research finds that the created method and associated tool are useful aids when solving the question of the effect of demand variation and the number of product variants on the optimal supply chain. Furthermore, interviews with end users of the tool implementation provide evidence of the Petri net method's practical usefulness. Regarding question (4), the research finds that the validation of strategic supply chain decisions from companies' reporting systems is important, but it has not become a common practice due to the challenges in integrating various IT systems.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 4 publications:

  1. Teemu Tynjälä. 2005. A formal, product structure driven design of optimized end-to-end demand supply chains. Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, volume 3, number 1, pages 7-11.
  2. Teemu Tynjälä. 2009. Supporting demand supply network optimization with Petri nets. In: Vijayan Sugumaran (editor). Distributed Artificial Intelligence, Agent Technology, and Collaborative Applications. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. Chapter XIX. Pages 366-383. ISBN 978-1-60566-144-5.
  3. T. Tynjälä and E. Eloranta. 2007. Investigating the effect of product variants, and demand distributions on the optimal demand supply network setup. Production Planning & Control, volume 18, number 7, pages 561-572.
  4. Teemu Tynjälä. Validation in supply chain decision support systems. International Journal of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management. Accepted for publication.

Keywords: supply chain management, decision support systems, Petri nets

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© 2011 Aalto University

Last update 2011-09-22