Identifying Optimal Granularity Level of Modular Assembly Supply Chains based on Complexity-Modularity Trade-off

Bugra Alkan, Seth Bullock, Kevin Galvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Complexity has been argued to limit operational efficiency, hinder decision-making and induce disruption in supply chain networks. The main aim of this paper is to investigate the architectural trade-off between complexity and modularity in modular assembly supply chain networks. Towards this, an information-entropic complexity model is adopted to the domain of assembly supply chains and logistics. The approach describes complexity as a combination of the intrinsic complexity of the system modules/interfaces and the influence of the topological composition of the network. The mathematical model is then used in the optimisation framework, where the optimal granularity level for assembly supply chain design solutions for a given assembly product can be automatically verified by considering the trade-off between complexity and network modularity. It is concluded that the methodology could help to minimise the complexity of the supply chain assembly configurations while maximising their modularity and thereby help to increase both the reliability and performance of supply chain networks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Mar 2021


  • Complexity theory
  • Assembly systems
  • Supply chain management
  • Network theory (graphs)
  • Pareto optimization

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