Hansen, Ole and Hanno Friedrich (2015)

An Inventory-Focused Analysis of German Food Supply Chains: The Case of Dairy Products

in: Clausen, Uwe, Hanno Friedrich, Carina Thaller and Christiane Geiger (ed.): Commercial Transport - Proceedings of the 2nd Interdiciplinary Conference on Production, Logistics and Traffic 2015, Springer: Cham, Switzerland, (2015), 337-347.

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-21266-1_22

Abstract: This work was created as part of the research project SEAK, which looks into possible causes and consequences of food shortfalls in Germany and is moreover also aimed at developing and evaluating possible mitigation strategies for these shortfalls. For the management of shortfalls in food supply it would be, as a first step, crucial to have information on existing inventories. Making for example decisions on the reallocation of food products into regions affected by disasters is only possible if knowledge about the (regional) availability of food quantities is present in the first place. This could be considered as a necessary transparency. However, in the German food sector, it is hard to get data about the inventories kept by companies like producers, logistic service providers (LSP’s), wholesalers or retailers. This is due to the fact that usually companies are not obliged to publish this information. Moreover, this information is also considered confidential in most companies, since it would give competitors insight into their business model and processes, which are oftentimes the basis for their success. Since information concerning food inventories is not publicly available, it has to be derived in another manner. This work is aimed at providing a scientific basis for the modelling of inventories along food supply chains. More specifically, it does so for the food commodity group of dairy products. We gathered information on all available food products, but limit this particular analysis to dairy products as a showcase of our approach. First, we introduce the data set used for the analysis and the methodology applied to it. In a next step, characteristics of typical German dairy supply chains are described using practical evidence as well as literature findings. The description follows the supply chain’s structure from start to finish, downstream. In the end, concluding remarks are made and possible further research ventures are suggested.

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