Effective sourcing strategies for perishable product supply chains

W.A. Rijpkema, R. Rossi, J.G.A.J. van der Vorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess whether an existing sourcing strategy can effectively supply products of appropriate quality with acceptable levels of product waste if applied to an international perishable product supply chain. The authors also analyse whether the effectiveness of this sourcing strategy can be improved by including costs for expected shelf life losses while generating order policies. Design/methodology/approach – The performance of sourcing strategies is examined in a prototype international strawberry supply chain. Appropriate order policies were determined using parameters both with and without costs for expected shelf life losses. Shelf life losses during transport and storage were predicted using microbiological growth models. The performance of the resulting policies was assessed using a hybrid discrete event chain simulation model that includes continuous quality decay. Findings – The study's findings reveal that the order policies obtained with standard cost parameters result in poor product quality and large amounts of product waste. Also, including costs for expected shelf life losses in sourcing strategies significantly reduces product waste and improves product quality, although transportation costs rise. Practical implications – The study shows that in perishable product supply chain design a trade-off should be made between transportation costs, shortage costs, inventory costs, product waste, and expected shelf life losses. Originality/value – By presenting a generically applicable methodology for perishable product supply chain design, the authors contribute to research and practice efforts to reduce food waste. Furthermore, product quality information is included in supply chain network design, a research area that is still in its infancy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-510
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • inventory systems
  • fresh produce
  • quality
  • management
  • sustainability
  • strawberries
  • performance
  • model
  • risk


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