Supervisor: Nicky Yates   

Simulation is a powerful and well established tool for understanding and developing complex real world processes.  Modern supply chains are complex; often handling multiple products through a succession of facilities on a global scale.  Simulation is therefore a widely used tool in their analysis and management.  The supply chains of perishable products are further complicated by the additional pressure of time.  Extremely short shelf lives make experimentation with their physical networks both expensive and risky.  The use of simulation modelling to investigate and enhance these supply chains is therefore invaluable. 

Simulation has the capacity to solve problems on many levels within the supply chain.  From detailed studies of inventory management to the design of entire supply chains; it is therefore an area rich in opportunities for study.  Potential research topics in this area could include, but are certainly not limited to: 

  • Simulation of alternative inventory management practises for storage and/or distribution of perishable components.
  • Investigation and quantification of the benefits of alternative strategies for collaborative delivery of perishable products.
  • Investigating the optimum locations for the storage of rarely used blood components.
  • Investigation of alternative models for maintaining maximum quality in agricultural supply chains.
  • Improving the efficiency of agricultural production processes.
  • Designing an optimum configuration for physical supply chains for perishable products
  • An examination of the network design implications of handling perishable products in a supply chain.
  • Establish an operational model for cooperative network for online marketing and distribution of farmers market.
  • Improving the transparency and safety of product flow through the supply chain.

The ideal candidate will have a strong quantitative background with previous academic study in engineering, the analytical sciences, operations research or similar and a natural aptitude to problem solving.  Previous experience of simulation modelling packages/or programming is useful but not essential as is industry experience in a relevant sector.

For an informal discussion, please contact Dr Nicky Yates, tel +44 (0)1234 751122 ext 8012 email: nicky.yates@cranfield.ac.uk

References

Hovelaque, V., Devaleix-Tregeur, S., Cordier, J. (2009), "Effects of Constrained Supply and Price Contracts on Agricultural Cooperatives", European Journal of Operational Research, Vol.199, pp.769-780.

Katsaliaki, K., Brailsford, S.C. (2007), "Using Simulation to Improve the Blood Supply Chain", Journal of the Operational Research Society, Vol.58, pp.219-227.

Minegishi, S., Thiel, D. (2000), "System Dynamics Modelling and Simulation of a Particular Food Supply Chain", Simulation Practice and Theory, Vol.8, pp.321-339.

Thron, T., Nagy, G., Wassan, N. (2007), "Evaluating Alternative Supply Chain Structures for Perishable Products", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol.18, No.3, pp.364-384.

Vanek, F., Sun, Y. (2008), "Transportation Versus Perishability in Life Cycle Energy Consumption: A Case Study of the Temperature Controlled Food Product Supply Chain", Transportation Research Part D, Vol.13, pp.383-391

Van der Vorst, J.G.A.J., Trop, S.-O., Van der Zee, D.-J. (2009), "Simulation Modelling for Food Supply Chain Redesign: Integrated Decision Making on Product Quality, Sustainabililty and Logistics", International Journal of Production Research, Vol.47, No.23, pp.6611-6631.