Supply Chain Management and Strategy Implementation for Perishable Goods

Supply Chain Management and Strategy Implementation for Perishable Goods

Anju Bharti (Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Management Studies, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9894-9.ch009
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Supply chain management is the active management of supply chain activities to maximize customer value and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage for a longer time. The supply chain firms put an extra effort to develop and run in the most effective & efficient ways possible. There are issues of concern that need attention, like huge losses in perishables (food) because of infrastructural deficiencies. The demand for food remains highly unfulfilled in most of the country and outside in spite of high production of food. This is because of highly ineffective, inadequate and very weak supply chains for food that require temperature controlled conditions to retain quality and safety of food and curb the decay process. An effective food retail supply chain thus becomes vital (Bourkakis and Weightman, 2004).Supply chains for perishable and time-sensitive products, pose specific and unique challenges. The temperature controlled supply chains or cold chains are a significant proportion of the retail food market which is still in the nascent stage.
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Business today is being conducted in a global environment. Globalization has forced countries and companies to become more efficient, creating the infrastructure and competitive advantage necessary to survive in the overwhelming market scenario. Companies are going truly global with supply-chain management to cater the needs of everyone throughout the globe. For example, a company, now a day, can develop a product in the United States, manufacture in India and sell in Europe. Companies have changed the ways in which they manage their operations and logistics activities according to the situation. Changes in trade, the spread and modernization of transport infrastructures and the intensification of competition have elevated the importance of flow management to new levels. The country like India which is having a geographic diversities with different types of soil, habitats, climates and vegetation is a major producer of food like, vegetables, fruits, wheat, pulse, milk, spices etc. in the world after China. Agricultural sector is a significant economic component, employing nearly 60% of the country’s population and contributing to around 25% of India’s gross domestic product. It is a challenge to manage a food supply chain that require all players in the supply chain to adhere to stringent operational practices in order to ensure the product is safe for consumption once it reaches the end consumer. Especially, in a global supply chain, when fresh or frozen foods are being transported, the procedures and equipment has to maintain the integrity of the cold chain to a more critical role to provide better outcome. Two issues that continue to drive best practices for managing the cold chain are food safety and food quality.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Online Realtime Sensors: Real-time measurement enables instant feedback and this is the difference between this type of solution and data loggers and if anything goes wrong with a cold store, the personnel of the department in question are notified instantly with real-time email and text alerts. Temperatures and other environmental parameters of warehouses can be traced from anywhere online and in real time. Online monitoring enables to identify unacceptable conditions that may occur immediately.

Temperature Data Loggers: A temperature data logger, also called temperature monitor, is a portable measurement instrument that is capable of autonomously recording temperature over a defined period of time. The digital data can be retrieved, viewed and evaluated after it has been recorded. A data logger is commonly used to monitor shipments in a cold chain and to gather temperature data from diverse field conditions. Data loggers are often small enough to be placed inside an insulated shipping container or directly attached to a product inside a refrigerator truck or a refrigerated container. These monitor the temperature of the product being shipped.

Cold Chain: The cold chain involves the transportation of temperature sensitive products along a supply chain through thermal and refrigerated packaging methods and the logistical planning to protect the integrity of these shipments. There are several means in which cold chain products can be transported, including refrigerated trucks and railcars, refrigerated cargo ships as well as by air cargo.

Supply Chain: A supply chain is the network of all the individuals, organizations, resources, activities and technology involved in the creation and sale of a product, from the delivery of source materials from the supplier to the manufacturer, through to its eventual delivery to the end user.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification): An RFID system for cold chain purposes generally encompasses a sensor, a tag and a reader, that communicate with each other by means of radio transmission. RFID tags can store an EPC for logistics management purposes, and, if equipped with the appropriate sensor and battery power, a limited number of temperature readings.

Time Temperature Integrators (TTIs): TTI are defined as simple, inexpensive device that indicate with an easily measurable, time temperature dependent change, the temperature history and quality status of the food that they are attached to Time–Temperature Integrators (TTIs), are inexpensive, active “smart labels” based on physicochemical, chemical, or biological principles of operation and exhibiting an easily measurable response that integrates the temperature history of the product. A TTI-based system could lead to realistic control of the chill chain, optimization of stock rotation and reduction of waste, and efficient shelf-life management from production to the consumer's table.

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