Petri-net based applications for supply chain management: An overview

Xiaoling Zhang, Qiang Lu, Teresa Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Supply networks are discrete event dynamic systems consisting of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and customers. It is a difficult and challenging task to model such a complex system. Recently, characterised as being capable of model parallelism and synchronisation, Petri nets (PNs) have attracted great attention for modelling and studying a supply network. Since each type of Petri net has its unique properties to model specific applications, this paper reviews and classifies Petri net applications for supply chain management (SCM). According to the decision problems facing SCM, we have the Petri net applications classified into three areas: competitive strategy, firm focused tactics, and operational efficiency. Categorising the Petri net applications will provide a guideline to industry practitioners and research academics to choose the appropriate Petri net for the problem. In addition, the paper attempts to offer future directions in applying the Petri net to SCM including: (1) modelling with uncertainty elements; (2) addressing the scalability issue of Petri nets; (3) integrating Petri nets with other tools; and (4) extending Petri nets to emerging applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3939-3961
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011


  • Petri nets
  • modelling
  • supply chain design and analysis
  • supply chain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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