Perishable Supply Chains

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Define supply chain

A supply chain is a network of activities in which raw materials pass through from their producer to the end customer.

Specifications of Food and Flower Supply Chains

• Fresh food products such as fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and dairy are perishable in nature as are flowers. The limited shelf life of the products only allow for short term inventory.

• Environmental conditions and the duration of the storage and delivery phase “affect the quality of the products, with consequences on their commercial value.” (Manzini, 2011, p. 2)

These product supply chains are sensitive to surrounding environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

• Food and flower production can be subject to seasonality. Demand, availability and price can vary with time.

• Safety and traceability is important and is strictly monitored by authorities.

Over stock of both food and flowers results in spoilage and waste. Both supply chains must eliminate over stock and produce just enough products to meet market demands.

Both food and flowers require a supply chain to preserve the quality of the product by monitoring and controlling the environmental conditions they are exposed to and to deliver the product as quickly and freshly as possible to the end customer. A profitable trade off must be made between product quality preservation and the cost of logistics.

Safety and traceability is important in these types of chains and strict documentation and monitoring procedures must be in place to conform to legislation.

Food and flower supply chains are different to other supply chains in a number of ways;

Only short term inventory can be achieved due to the short life span of products. Other supply chains mass produce products to reduce the cost of manufacture per product. These manufactures often store products for great periods of time until the distribution suppliers or wholesalers require new...
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