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Faculty of Life Sciences: Food, Nutrition and Health

Chair of Food Supply Chain Management - Prof. Dr. Christian Fikar

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The following list presents current key focus areas within our research activities

Mitigating Food Quality Losses in Food Supply ChainsHide

Too much food is lost and wasted both on a global and local level. This is not only an enormous waste of resources that is harmful to the environment, but also a major economic and ethical problem. Common planning tools in supply chain operation planning, however, do not consider the specifics of food products. To close this gap, the Chair develops model-driven decision support systems which can assist various decision makers in food supply chains to investigate related issues and design individual solution approaches to mitigate food quality losses in the future. 

Logistics concepts to provide more local food in Bavarian restaurantsHide
In order to increase the share of regional food in gastronomy and community catering, the University of Bayreuth/Campus Kulmbach and the project partner Cluster Ernährung of the KErn are developing logistic concepts that aim to make the supply of regional products as simple and efficient as possible. Cluster Ernährung focuses on data collection from producers/farmers as well as restaurants and community catering facilities. The University of Bayreuth is responsible for processing the data and deriving logistics concepts. These will then be implemented in two model regions. The project started in July 2023 and is limited to one year.
Digital Twin for the optimised production in mixed-model assembly lineHide
The production with mixed-model assembly lines is one of the most significant forms of production for manufacturing wall elements of prefabricated houses. Growing demands due to customised planning and achieving high product quality exert pressure on this sector, elevating the importance of digitalization concepts for controlling this production method. This research project aims to amplify the productivity of current and future facilities through proactive production planning. Given the highly individualised nature of products, particularly in segmented wall assembly, this presents a distinctive challenge. To address this, the production facility will be modelled as a Digital Twin. Online planning methods will be formulated to enable data-driven production planning. By incorporating production and measurement data, techniques for proactive resource allocation and improving production lead times will be devised. The project thus tackles the gap between rising demands and limited digitalisation, aiming to devise innovative solutions for more efficient and adaptable manufacturing processes.
Facilitating Sustainable Distribution in Food Supply ChainsHide

In today’s modern world, product availability and full shelfs in retail stores are a given for many consumers. However, consumers are often unaware of underlying complex and dynamic procurement and distribution processes. Especially food supply chains are an integral part and facilitator of local and global sustainability. Sustainability, i.e., a beneficial, long-term development of social, economic, and environmental factors, is highly related to food supply chains. To foster a better understanding of related distribution processes, we - the Chair for Food Supply Chain Management - study underlying dynamic structures and ways to facilitate a better understanding and, thus, ultimately support better decision making. To achieve this, we develop decision support systems based on simulation models, e.g., agent-based, discrete event and system dynamics models, and develop solution approaches such as meta-heuristics to optimize daily processes.

Strengthing Resilience in Food Supply ChainsHide

With the development of strategies such as global sourcing, just-in-time processes and lean practices, along with the increased pressure on efficiency and delivery time, today’s food supply chains have evolved into more sophisticated and complex systems. This however has made food supply chains more vulnerable to disruptions caused by various natural or human-made interruptions. In the context of food supply chains, disruptions can have severe consequences in terms of economic losses. Moreover, given the perishable nature of food produces, a decrease in food security in the form of food losses and food shortages is usually the by-product of such disruptions. In such circumstances, food supply chain actors need to act swiftly by implementing suitable strategies and counter-measures. We – the Chair of Food Supply Chain Management – study the impact of disruptions and ways to facilitate resilience in food supply chains. We develop model-driven decision support systems by integrating decision analytics, optimization and simulation techniques with the aim of improving understanding, evaluate impacts and derive managerial and policy implications in practice of various activities related to food supply chain management.  

Performance and Knowledge Management in Food Supply ChainsHide
In the past decade, the food sector had to deal with stagnating producer prices and rising production costs. This problem affects a large part of the producing enterprises and is particularly evident in the dairy industry. Many enterprises are trying to counteract this by taking internal measures to increase efficiency and productivity and by using economies of scale. Measures to improve efficiency through cooperation along the supply chain, on the other hand, are only used to a limited extent. This research area deals with collaborations within the supply chain that contribute to improving its performance, such as collaboration in the area of performance and knowledge management. Through the use of case studies, current forms of cooperation, problems and best practice cases are analysed and measures for improving the situation are developed. In addition, system dynamic models are used to illustrate the mechanisms and effects of interactions within such cooperations.

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