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The basics of managing a collaborative supply chain (Part 1 of 5)

Our food comes a long way from a farm

Let’s imagine a farm and on this farm, the farmer keeps pigs.  He, or maybe she, feeds them and waters them and breeds them and fattens them.  And when the pigs are big and fat, the farmer puts them on a truck and sends them off to the abattoir.  At the abattoir, the pigs are slaughtered, and sold as carcasses to butcheries and supermarkets who butcher the meat and package it into smaller quantities for us to take home and cook.

But if we don’t like it, it is difficult to let the farmer know

You and I, the shoppers at the supermarket, know what we want.  We want a meat that cooks well, looks good, smells good, tastes good, and feels good.

And when we don’t get what we want. . .well, exactly how is that communicated back to the farmer?

And are we sure that the problem was with the farm and not elsewhere in the complicated food chain?

And indeed how would the farmer know that it was something to do with his (or her) farming that created the undesirable quality.  Possibly the problem is elsewhere in the food chain… the transporting of the live pig or the handling of the pork at the butchery. . . to pick only two possible points.

A series of five posts to understand how we benefit from the collaborative management of a complicated supply chain

In this series of five posts, I have rewritten a case study of the pig industry in Scotland to help people who are interested in collaborative supply chain management understand how we  organize the collaboration and the key role of computers, data, analysis and experiments.

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