Last July, ESR Meletios Bimpizas-Pinis, had the first part of his secondment at Agritalia, an expert company in the exportation of Italian food products to the United States focused on the efficient consolidation and shipment of dry goods. Agritalia has implemented a new logistics model, which streamlines the planning of/and actual production; reduces overstock at a distribution level; aiming at ensuring fresher products for retailers at a store level.
The aim of his secondment was to collect some data regarding orders’ volume, supplier location, customer location, transportation time, and conduct a preliminary analysis with the aim to identify potential research proposals. The company shared with us data with reference to 12 product categories and 24 suppliers. Following the aggregation of this data, we decided to focus on the environmental impact of the entire transportation process, proposing different consolidation scenarios to minimise related emissions. Acknowledging the difficulty associated with the level of data detail that analysis requires, we are in an open communication channel with the company to confer on how we could realise the collection of this data and overcome relevant barriers.
Drawing the connection with circular economy, this secondment offers another great opportunity to highlight the importance of the usually overlooked idea of “reduce” in contrast to the value retention options of “reuse” and “recycle”. While logistics constitute an importance aspect of supply chain management, emphasis is placed on strategies towards the minimisation of surpluses and waste at a company level. Given the relatively low shelf life of food products, Agritalia offers an opportunity to examine different consolidation scenarios along with the relative life of examined product categories, assess the former’s impact, and evaluate the potential to maximise their shelf life while minimising the emissions linked to their transportation from suppliers to final customers.
Currently, in close cooperation with the company, we are in the process of enriching the current dataset and ensure that all aforementioned research objectives can be met. At the same time, we are planning the start of the next secondment.