Manufacturing supply networks are complex dynamic networks that play a crucial role in the economy. Nevertheless, there are so far only few studies that apply modern tools of network science and dynamical system theory to the analysis of these networks. Here, we provide a brief introduction to these types of networks highlighting their basic organization, current challenges, and selected previous work. This paper serves as an introduction to a focus topic consisting of five papers by experts on supply network dynamics.
Figure 1: Sketch of a supply network. Supply networks consist of production units (nodes) connected by material flows (arrows). They are often portrayed from the perspective of the prime company (see text). The suppliers can than be classified into tiers according to their distance from the prime. This representation neglects other prime manufacturers whose supply networks overlap with the network shown here.