Introducing a rule-based architecture for workflow systems in retail supply chain management
Sammanfattning: Problem: While global IT competition is becoming increasingly severe, various business organizations and companies, in order to maximize the profit and gain market competitiveness, are in urgent need of high-performance workflow systems to improve efficiency. However, the workflow systems that are currently used are embedded with fixed business rules that cannot be easily adjusted by users, resulting in the inability of users to make adjustments to the business rules, so as to satisfy changed requirements and deal with high cost of business management and low efficiency. Therefore, it is highly desirable for users of workflow systems, especially retail supply chain companies, to employ a new type of systems that can be easily adjusted by end users themselves when required.Solution: The rule-based workflow system architecture for the management of retail supply chain business process is recommended. In such architecture, the business rules can be separated from the system logic and managed by users via a friendly interface. The rule-based workflow systems can greatly enhance the system efficiency and lower maintenance cost, as compared with the traditional workflow system or other similar information systems. And the efficiency of retail supply chain business process management can be greatly enhanced by employing rule-based workflow systems.Methods: Two main research problems and four sub-research problems, which serve as the guidance to conduct related research work, have been identified. The research work has been divided into the theoretical part and the empirical part. In the theoretical part, the theory of rule base establishment and rule-based workflow system architecture are discussed. In the empirical part, data analysis as well as prototype design are conducted by employing both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. Attempts are also made to verify the theories suggested in the theoretical part by means of empirical research. Based on both theoretical and empirical research, attempts are made to find solutions to the research questions. In general, this thesis arms at providing references for the future research related to rule-based workflow system management in retail supply chain management. The thesis also aims to provide references for the practical use of rule-based systems in the retail supply chain field with such issues as system development and maintenance, especially for the system of complex and changeable business processes. Most importantly, some solutions are offered to the challenges of retail supply chain management.
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