Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

In the case of wholesale food distributors, it's all about location

Date:
December 4, 2013
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
In all but the shortest supply chains, food travels through wholesale distribution centers on its way from farm to consumer, and the location of these distributors can have a big impact on the efficiency of a food system. Now, a new mathematical model can help business owners and policy makers determine the optimal locations for such distributors.

In all but the shortest supply chains, food travels through wholesale distribution centers on its way from farm to consumer, and the location of these distributors can have a big impact on the efficiency of a food system. Now, a new mathematical model can help business owners and policy makers determine the optimal locations for such distributors, thanks to a research team led by an engineer in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Related Articles


"Our model addresses the problem of how to move food from producers to consumers efficiently," said Hamideh Etemadnia, a postdoctoral scholar and lead author of the study. "In the case of farmers' markets, producers bring their products directly to consumers themselves. But most products are trucked from processing facilities to wholesale distributors, and then on to retail stores. Our model will help identify the optimal locations of these intermediary distributors so as to minimize transportation costs and to maximize the number of producers and retailers that they serve."

Knowing the optimal locations for wholesale distributors, or hubs, may be useful to private-sector firm owners, who can use this information to plan new distribution businesses or to change the locations of their existing distribution centers to maximize their profits and to help lower producers' costs through aggregation. Similarly, policy makers can use these results to assess the effect of alternative definitions of "locally produced foods."

Etemadnia and her colleagues developed the mathematical model to consider transportation and distributor-construction costs, as well as several possible constraints that will allow them to look at various "what if" scenarios.

"The constraints that we built into our model allow us to understand how certain changes might affect the optimal locations of wholesale hubs," she said. "For example, officials who want to promote regional agriculture could place constraints on the distance food travels, to see how their region's existing distribution structure would need to change for such a policy to succeed."

To test their model, the researchers applied it to the meat supply chain in the Northeastern U.S., comprising 433 counties. Using County Business Patterns data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, they identified which counties contain slaughtering or meat-processing facilities, and which counties contain retail meat markets. Inserting these data into their mathematical model, they conducted several simulations to determine the optimal locations for wholesale hubs connecting these slaughter and processing facilities with retail markets. Their results, which will be published in the December issue of Transportation Research Record, show how optimal distributor locations change based on a number of variables, including distributor size and capacity, road conditions and gas prices.

The team plans to use the model to conduct simulations with other supply chains, such as those for fresh fruits and vegetables.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "In the case of wholesale food distributors, it's all about location." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131204182209.htm>.
Penn State. (2013, December 4). In the case of wholesale food distributors, it's all about location. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131204182209.htm
Penn State. "In the case of wholesale food distributors, it's all about location." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131204182209.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

HP to Buy Aruba Networks in $3B Deal

HP to Buy Aruba Networks in $3B Deal

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) Hewlett-Packard is boosting its mobile computing business... buying California-based Aruba Networks- a wi-fi network gear maker for $24.67 per share. Leah Duncan reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Curved Screen Give Samsung the Edge?

Can Curved Screen Give Samsung the Edge?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) South Korea&apos;s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled its latest Galaxy S smartphones, featuring a slim body made from aircraft-grade metal, in a bid to reclaim the throne of undisputed global smartphone leader from Apple Inc. Hayley Platt reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Samsung Pay Make Mobile Payments Catch On?

Can Samsung Pay Make Mobile Payments Catch On?

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Samsung unveiled a mobile payment system that could have a wider reach than Apple Pay thanks to technology that mimics a credit card&apos;s magnetic strip. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
HTC And Valve Team Up For Virtual Reality Headset

HTC And Valve Team Up For Virtual Reality Headset

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) HTC unveiled Vive, its new virtual reality headset, Sunday. The device is supported by gaming company Valve, which has made a push into the market. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins