A temperature profile of the beginning stages of a blueberry supply chain

Steynberg, Daniël Petrus (Petré) (2021-12)

Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Due to the changing lifestyle choices of the modern-day consumer, the demand for blueberries has risen significantly in recent years. Exporters of blueberries are losing money linked to lower quality fruit arriving at their final destination. Studies have proven that various factors could play a role in the decrease in fruit quality, especially in the initial stages of a supply chain. These factors include the geographical location of the farms, different methods of loading, unloading and transportation on and from farms to the centralised cold storage facility, and the trade-off between the time of picking and fruit quality. The objective of this research was to identify whether the different logistics processes implemented, specifically in the beginning stages of the blueberry supply chain, have an influence on the quality of the fruit. Through mapping and tracking of the blueberry temperature profiles, the researcher was able to identify where temperature breaks occurred. Furthermore, the research determined whether the current logistics processes implemented by Company X are the most effective, and if not, what should be improved. The study followed a deductive research approach and utilised a case study research strategy. It used a mixed-method research approach by collecting quantitative and qualitative data. Semi-structured interviews, informal observations and questionnaires were used in the study. iButtons® were used on all the farms to record ambient temperatures experienced by blueberries throughout the beginning stages of the blueberry supply chain. Temperature trials were conducted on three farms in Gauteng and three farms in the Western Cape. Various temperature fluctuations were recorded during the beginning stages of the blueberry supply chain. This could have been avoided if protocols were followed more strictly. The lack of controlled humidity could also be a contributing factor to the loss of moisture identified in the quality reports. The long average time spent during the Harvest and Transportation stage was identified as something that needs to be improved upon. In addition, the insufficient pre-cooling and lack of separate refrigerated rooms in the cold rooms on the farms in the Western Cape were identified as an area of concern. Lastly, decreasing the number of temperature fluctuations during the Forced Cooling stage should be a priority. In conclusion, the research highlighted problem areas within the beginning stages of a blueberry supply chain. Furthermore, it identified the best performing candidates during each stage, which should be used as a benchmark by Company X. By minimizing the breach of protocols and improving the beginning stages of the blueberry supply chain, a better-quality product is ensured, thus, reducing costs and food wastage.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : die veranderende leefstylkeuses van die moderne verbruiker het die vraag na bloubessies aansienlik gestyg die afgelope paar jaar. Uitvoerders van bloubessies verloor inkomste indien swak gehalte vrugte by die finale bestemming aankom. Studies het getoon dat verskeie faktore ’n rol kan speel in die afname in vrugkwaliteit, veral tydens die eerste stadium van die voorsieningsketting. Hierdie faktore sluit die volgende in: geografiese ligging van die plase, verskillende laai-, aflaai- en vervoermetodes op die plase en vanaf die plase na die gesentraliseerde koelkamer fasiliteite, asook die kompromie tussen pluktyd en vrugkwaliteit. Die doelstellings van hierdie navorsing was om te identifiseer of die verskillende geïmplementeerde logistieke prossesse, spesifiek in die beginstadium van die bloubessie voorsieningsketting, ’n invloed het op die kwaliteit van die vrugte. Die kartering en nasporing van bloubessie temperatuurprofiele het die navorser in staat gestel om te identifiseer waar moontlike temperatuur afwykings plaasvind. Verder het die navorsing ondersoek of Maatskappy X se huidige geïmplementeerde logistieke prosesse effektief is, en indien nie, watter verbeteringe kort. Die studie het ’n deduktiewe navorsingsbenadering gevolg asook van ’n gevallestudie navorsingstrategie gebruik gemaak. ’n Gemengde-metode navorsingsbenadering is gebruik deur kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe data te versamel. Semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude, informele waarnemings en vraelyste is gebruik in die huidige studie. iButtons® is op al die plase gebruik om die bloubessies se omgewingstemperatuur te meet vir die beginstadium van die bloubessie voorsieningsketting. Temperatuur steekproewe is op drie plase in Gauteng en drie plase in die Wes-Kaap uitgevoer. Verskeie temperatuur afwykings is waargeneem vir die beginstadium van die bloubessie voorsieningsketting. Dit kon vermy geword het indien protokolle strenger gevolg is. Die gebrek aan beheerde humiditeit kan ook ’n bydraende faktor wees tot die vogverlies geïdentifiseer in die kwaliteitverslae. Die lang gemiddelde tyd gespandeer tydens die Oes-en-Vervoer stadium is geïdentifiseer as ’n aspek waarop verbeter kan word. Verder is onvoldoende voorverkoeling en ’n tekort aan afsonderlik verkoelde kamers in die koelkamers op plase in die Wes-Kaap geïdentifiseer as kommerwekkend. Laastens moet die vermindering van die aantal temperatuurafwykings gedurende die Gedwonge-Verkoeling stadium ’n prioriteit wees.Ter opsomming het die navorsing probleemareas gedurende die beginstadiums van ’n bloubessie voorsieningsketting uitgewys. Verder het dit die bes presterende kandidate vir elke stadium geïdentifiseer, wat as ’n maatstaf deur Maatskappy X gebruik kan word. Deur afwykings vanaf protokolle te verminder asook die beginstadium van die bloubessie voorsieningsketting te verbeter, kan ’n beter kwaliteit produk verseker word, wat sodoende onkoste and voedselvermorsing kan verminder.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/123978
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