OMDS Research Centre host sustainability in food supply chains seminar
On 5 July 2023, the Operations Management and Decision Sciences (OMDS) Research Centre Theme: Sustainable Production and Consumption had the pleasure to host a seminar at Sheffield University Management School centred around actionable insights into sustainability in food supply chains.
The seminar was organised by Dr Amin Vafadarnikjoom, Lecturer in Operations Management and Decision Sciences at Sheffield University Management School, and it consisted of a series of presentations from a range of guest speakers. It brought together industry and academic perspectives on how the food waste reduction goal can be achieved within the UK food supply chains to achieve a circular economy and zero-waste.
In the first presentation, Mr Guy Cuthbert, CEO/CTO at Atheon Analytics, briefly introduced Atheon’s journey and its products such as SKUtrak. SKUtrak is a grocery analytics platform which provides a suite of tools dedicated to FMCGs so they can make complex decisions with confidence. He then focused on the challenges impeding his mission to help reduce food waste in the UK food supply chains. He explored competing motivations of the supply chain actors and offered a unique perspective on how insight-generating tools and technology in general can support that important goal. He drew from a number of case studies that involved Atheon customers.
In the second presentation, Professor Andrew Fearne, Professor of Value Chain Management at Norwich Business School, talked about the importance of small businesses in the food value chain, including their importance in diversity, jobs, as well as the value for the shopper and the retailer. He discussed the challenges they face trying to compete in the retail world. In a world where every business is expected to be data literate and act as a category champion who advises the buyers. Who Buys My Food? (WBMF) has been running for over 18 years and has assisted over 700 small food and drink businesses across the UK. The WBMF is the winner of Innovation & Impact Awards 2021 at the University of East Anglia. This project gives farmers and small food and drink producers actionable insight derived from the analysis of retail data.
In the third presentation, Professor Manoj Dora, Professor of Sustainable Production at Anglia Ruskin University, talked about their research on the design of blockchain-centric food supply chains that promote SDGs, within the context of the Thai fish industry. Key findings suggest that data asymmetry exists in supply chains to achieve SDGs. This research presents four design principles and an integrated technology implementation framework, derived from empirical data, for blockchain-centric food supply chains. The research outcome contributes to the supply chain management field and could ultimately impact the resilience of fishery ecosystems.
The seminar was well attended by and provided valuable insights into a range of topics for OMDS members, including PhD students, early career researchers and academic staff.
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