Metal stampings are an important manufactured product. Their production cycle includes the steps of part design, process and tooling design, tooling construction, and production. Each of these activities may be performed within departments of a single manufacturing plant, but more commonly are separated across firms and are widely distributed geographically. To be most effective, this process should be performed concurrently, with considerable flows of information along the supply chain. Research on Agent-based systems shows they are very promising in this type of task as individual agents can wrap particular domain knowledge and analysis algorithms, are always available to respond and are able to autonomously form networks as needed to complete product and process design tasks. In this paper we examine the particular case where alternate suppliers may be selected to supply components to the supply chain. Agents are used to connect the suppliers to the supply chain network. Each supplier firm’s agent understands the firm’s production capabilities, costs and capacity loading, and is able to negotiate with a broker agent representing the stamped part customer. A prototype system is described, and case studies are used to show the benefits of an Agent-based approach to this supply chain problem.

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