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Modelling for Decision Support in the Vegetable and Fruit Supply Chain

December 6th, 2012

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modelling for decision support in the vegetable and fruit supply chain

1ATO B.V.
P.O. Box 17, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands 2VU Amsterdam
Mathematics & Computer Science
De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract
Quality modelling in agri-supply chains has become increasingly popular in
R&D environments, because of the availability of large amounts of experimental
data and mathematical models. At the same time, in industrial supply chains a
strong need exists for support in making complex decisions with respect to logistic,
commercial, technical, financial and other aspects. Nevertheless, the majority of
research models is not being used in real world applications. Our claim is that a
more explicit analysis of specific decision-making processes will help to construct
models that will be of use in practice. Therefore we propose to pay special attention
to this aspect of the modelling process and to separate it from behavioural
modelling. We distinguish between decision and control variables on one hand and
behavioural variables on the other. Common modelling practice only deals with the
latter. We review three cases from our own project experience with this conceptual
distinction in mind: fresh-cut vegetables in MA-packaging, ripeness of mangoes and
optimal planning of sowing and harvesting. This analysis has resulted in a
systematic procedure to analyse the decision-making process and to construct
context relevant models. Careful examination of potential applications along these
lines will improve the interaction between users and developers of product and
process models.

Keywords: decision support, modelling, quality, fresh products, supply chain.

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