Operational model for planning the harvest and distribution of perishable agricultural products
This paper presents an operational model that generates short term planning decisions for the fresh produce industry. In particular, the application developed helps the grower to maximize his revenues by making production and distribution decisions during the harvest season. The main motivation for this model comes from the fact that the profitability of producers is highly dependent on the handling of short term planning in the harvest season. Some of the factors affecting profitability include the management of labor costs, the preservation of the value of perishable crops, and the use transportation modes that provide the best trade-off between time (quality of products) and cost. These issues are interrelated, and their judicious management is fundamental for attaining good financial results. The results of the proposed planning model indicate that significant savings can be obtained by managing the trade-off of the freshness at the delivery of the product with the added labor and transportation cost at the grower's side. Moreover the results also show that dynamic, information based, management practices might be preferred over traditional practices based in fixed labor allocation and distribution practices.
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