Developing a Supply Chain Modeling Approach to Facilitate Ecology-Inspired Design for Sustainability and Resilience Conference Paper uri icon


  • Abstract Supply chain policies and design efforts are traditionally focused on efficiency objectives such as reducing operational costs. With the occurrence of the most devastating pandemic in decades and the continually increasing prevalence of natural disasters, this focus has been challenged, and the need to focus on supply chain resilience has become apparent. Achieving long-lasting sustainable development in supply chains requires a balance of efficiency-focused measures that enhance economic and environmental sustainability and resiliency measures. Ecological Network Analysis has revealed a unique balance between pathway efficiency and redundancy in ecosystems network architecture. This enables both efficient operations under normal circumstances and resilience to perturbations. This same analysis can be used to evaluate the balance of sustainability and resilience in supply chain networks, providing insights into what kind of supply chain design and policy decisions lead to more ecosystem-like architectures. This study lays the groundwork for such efforts by studying four supply chain topologies (formed by prevalent supply chain strategies) using ENA. Inventory (storage) is not well understood in the typical flow analysis used in ENA but is an essential facet of supply chain design and must be included in a supply chain analysis. This study overcomes this limitation by proposing a method to include inventory in the ENA framework. The analysis conducted revealed two significant insights: (a) the agile supply chain strategy is the most ecologically similar and (b) it is possible that there are optimal inventory levels (given partnership strategies) to utilize bio-inspiration in supply chain design.

name of conference

  • Volume 6: 33rd International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology (DTM)

published proceedings

  • Volume 6: 33rd International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology (DTM)

author list (cited authors)

  • Wilson, T., Chatterjee, A., & Layton, A.

complete list of authors

  • Wilson, Tyler||Chatterjee, Abheek||Layton, Astrid

publication date

  • January 2021