Supply Chain Management in the Produce industry
Perosio, Debra J.; McLaughlin, Edward W.; Cuellar, Sandra; Park, Kristen
Much of the success of the produce industry relies on a carefully choreographed supply chain. Planting the perfect varieties, harvesting at the peak of ripeness, packing in customized cartons, transporting fresh produce thousands of miles, and merchandising, marketing and promoting it at just the right moment, is a feat that relies on careful and detailed communication and coordination between grower/shippers and produce retailers. The objective of this study is to document the status, challenges and changes within the fresh produce distribution system. The method guiding this study has three major components: (1) a review of the relevant trade and academic literature on the fresh produce industry, (2) an extensive mail questionnaire directed at produce retailers, and (3) focus groups with grower/shippers. The retail questionnaire was sent to 270 produce retail executives in April 2001. At each retail firm, senior-level produce executives were asked to complete a questionnaire by describing supply chain management practices within their organizations for 1996 and today, 2001. Furthermore, they were asked to projectwhat the practices will be 5 years into the future, in 2006. The survey generated 44 useable questionnaire responses, from a representative sample of supermarkets in terms both of geographical and size distribution. Respondents ranged from a number of singlestore operators to the very largest of multi-billiondollar retail operators. Such representativeness allows for a cautious generalization from the survey results to the produce industry as a whole.
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University