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FruitGame: Simulation Model to Study the Supply Chain Logistics for Fresh Produce

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Computers in Agriculture and Natural Resources, 4th World Congress Conference, Proceedings of the 24-26 July 2006 (Orlando, Florida USA) Publication Date 24 July 2006  701P0606.(doi:10.13031/2013.21922)
Authors:   Patrizia Busato, Remigio Berruto
Keywords:   Modeling, Supply-chain, Logistics, Fresh fruits, Fresh vegetable

Customers are asking better quality for the fresh produce, and that imply better management of the supply-chain. In the distribution of the fruit and fresh vegetable plays an important role the logistics, discipline that studies and optimises the management of the flow of products along the supply-chain. The high quality of logistic services could be achieved if the partners are aware of the supply-chain system and its behaviour in order to have an efficient response to the customer needs.

A simulation game developed specifically for managers of businesses that handle fresh fruits and vegetables could help reduce losses and improve the quality of produce available to consumers (Prussia et al, 2001).

The beer game, developed by researchers at MIT in early 60s, shows the value of integrated supply chain management.

In order to improve the supply-chain, the components of the fresh produce supply-chain were asked to play with the beer game. After the game, they asked for one tool specifically designed on the delivery of fresh produce. The authors designed and developed the FruitGame with an object oriented simulation language, Extend, which implement the supply-chain typical for fresh produce, as a part of one Ph.D. research project. The model-game provides three more partners in the supply-chain vs. the beer game: the farmer, the final store and another wholesaler. It provides also more options to the players. They can, in the case of shortage of products, either to place bigger orders or to buy from other sources (by spending more money), or encounter loss in sales with an associated probability to loose the customer.

The FruitGame track the supply-chain performance by simulating the production and distribution of each single box of fruits and vegetable. Each box has his attributes and this unique feature allow for tracking in detail the shelf-life of the fresh produce along the supply-chain.

This model framework now is able to simulate networks of different products, forecasting the quality loss from packer to consumer, and allowing the testing of diverse logistic and transport solutions. New resources will be spent to make new scenarios in order to increase the shelf-life and reducing the costs.

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