A solution approach to the problem of selecting agricultural suppliers of fresh fruit supported by the process of hierarchical analysis and the system dynamics
The decision process of purchasing fresh fruit that meets export criteria is a complex problem that directly involves the efficient management of the agri-food supply chain. Although this issue has been adequately addressed in the manufacturing and service industries, studies in agri-food chains have been scarce and therefore have gained the interest of entrepreneurs in that field. This article presents an approach that integrates the hierarchical analysis process (AHP) with a systems dynamics model (SDM) for selecting agricultural suppliers of fresh fruit. The included data consists of the farmer's criteria relating to the fruit supply capacity, the past recorded quality of the fruit delivered by the farmer, and the farmer’s responsiveness to deliver the fruit requested by the company. The AHP helps prioritize the supplier who can meet the demand in terms of quantity and size of fruit required by the customer, while the SDM demonstrates its usefulness in determining the quantity of fruit and sequence of the supplier that must enter the packaging process. The results are compared with real historical data of supply of an exporting company and demonstrate that the optimal selection of the agricultural supplier of fresh fruit, reduces cycle time workday for to pack the customer's order, and minimize the level of the inventory of fresh fruit not requested by the international market. While this approach help to reduce the inventory of fresh fruit not required for packaging, the SDM has the limitation of not predicting the quantity of fruit based on its export size. This problem is solved with the AHP and the "Composition Percentage" method. The fundamental information considered in this approach to the selection of agricultural suppliers facilitates its replication in other similar fruits.
Keywords: Simulation, Systems Dynamics, Supply Chain, Persian lime.