Key Findings

This page presents key findings of selected work to highlight major points of interest and raise awareness for emerging topics:

Food Logistics

“Results of a study of a regional organic strawberry supply chain show that real-time information of product quality can improve chain performance at various points. It enables decision support on which product should be shipped to the next process step or better be sold via other distribution channels with shorter handling durations. These decisions can generate additional income, lower transportation expenses and further reduce emissions, food losses as well as waste disposal costs.” (Leithner and Fikar, 2019)

“Consequently, when designing and implementing e-grocery service offers, impacts on logistics performance need to be considered, requiring a close interaction between decision makers in marketing and logistics.” (Fikar et al., 2019)

“The results highlight the importance of considering food quality within e-grocery operations. Incorporating such models enables one to alter delivery routes and order picking to decrease food waste, avoid stockouts and to increase product quality at delivery.” (Fikar, 2018)

“Results of a sample setting in Austria show that such joint actions allow one to reduce travel distances substantially, particularly if many orders are placed, quantities are small and products are not sourced locally.  Both collaborations among food cooperatives and between multiple farmers show promising results.” (Fikar and Leithner, 2020)

“Results highlight major benefits of jointly performing routing and store assignment decisions to reduce travel distances. Additionally, one can improve food quality losses substantially by allowing a slight increase in travel distances, particularly if cooling equipment is not available at stores. If major reductions in food quality losses are desired, larger vehicle fleets and more direct deliveries are required. This once again highlights the importance of considering food quality aspects in related vehicle routing applications to facilitate sustainable operations.” (Fikar and Braekers, 2021)

“…, food cooperatives come to their limits when they become too formalized, commercial and lose their ‘community character’. Together with constraints to regional supply, this limits the possibility to diffuse grassroots innovations via scaling-up. Food cooperatives, as prototypical grassroots innovations in the food industry, may only be diffused through replication. Consequently, we conclude that policy-makers should focus on incentives for the replication of food cooperatives at different locations and on measures that facilitate mutual learning and knowledge transfer.” (Kump and Fikar, 2021)

“From a managerial perspective, results highlight the importance of closely monitoring the ratio of producers to restaurateurs in the system as well as of the specific hub location and number of available vehicles. Particularly, the shown trade-off between time and distance is crucial to both reduce travel distances and provide high service quality.” (Paciarotti et al., 2022)

Home Health Care

“The results highlight that this research field is highly heterogeneous in terms of the different focus areas, objectives studied and the considered regulative settings. (…) Nevertheless, numerous research questions of importance are still to be investigated. These include robust settings, integrated multi-stage methods and the implementation of various and combined modes of transport.(Fikar and Hirsch, 2017)

“According to the computational experiments, trip sharing in HHC services performs best in areas where long service times and challenges to find parking spots occur, leading to a substantial reduction in the number of required vehicles. (Fikar and Hirsch, 2016)

“The results show that implementing walking and pooling of trips in solution procedures decreases the number of required vehicles substantially.” (Fikar and Hirsch, 2015)

Disaster Relief

The DSS was developed to provide decision-makers a tool to test different strategies during professional training in a risk-free environment. This enables one to perform what-if studies and to analyze worst case scenarios to foster decision-making skills and to gain a better understanding of disaster relief distribution.(Fikar et al., 2016a)

Disruptions in rail networks result in substantial delays. Understanding and quantification of such impacts is critical to identify supply chain risks and to enhance preparedness. The development of the DSS in this work helps to improve supply chain risk management by enabling the analysis of the criticality of railway links and various disruption scenarios.” (Fikar et al., 2016b)

“When designing assistance programs in a complex emergency, it is important to look at both the short- and long-term needs and dependencies of a population during a cholera outbreak. The findings indicate that there is a need to link both humanitarian and development efforts together with peace mediations to terminate the conflict, or to reduce its intensity.” (Harping et al., 2021)