Masters Degrees (Logistics)

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    Assessing the need for a dry port to alleviate congestion surrounding the Port of Durban : a citrus case
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2024-03) Mkhabele, Nkensani Keneth; Krygsman, Stephanus Christiaan; Goedhals-Gerber, Leila Louise; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. Dept. of Logistics.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: Port congestion poses a critical challenge to the efficient export of citrus fruits, thus impacting global trade and supply chain resilience within the industry. This research investigates the multifaceted dimensions of port congestion at the port of Durban within the context of the South African citrus industry. The primary objective is to evaluate the feasibility and potential benefits of establishing a dry port as a strategic intervention to mitigate existing logistical challenges faced at the port with the aim of providing a framework that aids in facilitating more efficient international trade. While employing a pragmatic mixed-method approach, the study analyses the implications of port congestion on key stakeholders, including shipping companies, industry associations, and regulatory bodies. The research encompasses a literature review, providing insights into global dry port management strategies, the role of dry ports, the importance of international trade, the citrus industry in South Africa as well as broader topics that fuel the readers’ understanding of the research. Through an analysis of primary data, including interviews with 17 industry experts and stakeholders, the study uncovers the specific challenges faced by the citrus industry in navigating port congestion, affecting export schedules, quality control, and market competitiveness. Data from the Ports Regulator of South Africa provides the quantitative data utilised within the study. The research findings highlight the need for strategic interventions, leading to a series of recommendations aimed at enhancing railway capacity and fostering government investment in port infrastructure. The exploration of long-term Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and the adoption of development-attracting methods, such as Special Economic Zones (SEZs), emerge as additional recommended strategies for mitigating congestion-related disruptions and avoiding future bottlenecks. This research contributes to the existing body of knowledge by illustrating how the strategic establishment of a dry port can address logistical challenges and stimulate economic growth within the perishable domain. The implications extend beyond congestion relief, encompassing economic stimulation, job creation, and a repositioning of South Africa favourably within global trade networks. The study highlights the necessity for ongoing research into the optimal location, design, and governance of dry ports within South Africa. Lastly, this research provides a practical framework for addressing operational inefficiencies in the citrus supply chain, emphasising the potential transformative impact of a dry port on trade dynamics and economic development for the Republic of South Africa.
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    Understanding the impact of global supply chain risks on costs through the total landed cost methodology – a fashion retail organisation case study
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2024-03) Allies, Audria; Goedhals-Gerber, Leila Louise; Human, Daniel Benjamin Verwoerd; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. Dept. of Logistics.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: The fashion retail industry is rapidly evolving due to globalisation and e-commerce, making understanding, and optimizing supply chain costs and their drivers crucial. However, there is limited research on the relationship between supply chain risks and total landed costs (TLC). Most literature focuses on procurement and supplier selection, but challenges exist in building a framework that considers evolving variables and unique industries. This research aims to expand understanding of supply chain risks and disruption, and their effect on the TLC within the South African fashion retail industry. To illustrate this research and its outcomes, the researcher identified a fashion retail organisation as their primary sponsor and stakeholder. This study investigates the impact of supply chain risks on a prominent fashion and lifestyle retailer operating in Southern Africa. With multiple retail brands that spans across luxury to value-market segments, quantifying these risks has become challenging. The research aims to ascertain the extent to which these risks affect the retailer over two financial years, the resulting disruptions, and their influence on the Organisation’s total landed cost (TLC). In addition, it explores strategies to mitigate these risks and preserve value by understanding and quantifying their impact and associated costs, enabling more effective responses. This study utilised a mixed-method approach, combining qualitative and quantitative data analysis of internal and external secondary data. It analysed the impact of macro-economic supply chain events and the Organisation’s Total Landed Cost (TLC). Power Query and MS Excel was used to extract, cleanse, and analyse actual transactional data, recorded during periods of significant supply chain disruption, based on the Organisation’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Supply Chain Cost measurements. The study identified trends and gaps for further research. The findings indicated that supply chain disruptions directly affect the total landed cost (TLC), with some events having indirect impacts. The Organisation managed to mitigate additional costs by minimising negative business effects through cost estimation and shifting production. However, delays from lengthy supply chains lead times to substantial sales losses. Macro-economic events like Covid-19, the Suez Canal incident and South African unrest significantly impacted the Organisation's supply chain. The study underscores the importance of identifying inbound supply chain risks and tailoring mitigation strategies accordingly. It further recommends adopting advanced predictive analytics tools to mitigate risks and facilitate timely, data-driven decision-making, enhancing operational efficiency and cost savings.
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    On retraining intervals and sequence lengths for machine learning models in foreign exchange rate forecasting
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2024-03) Vlok, Cassius Ray; Visagie, Stephanus Esterhuyse; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. Dept. of Logistics.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: The foreign exchange market is non-stationary, highly volatile, noisy and non-linear, making it challenging for time series predictions. Market conditions constantly evolve, and finding a robust model that can capture current patterns while adjusting to emerging ones is difficult. Machine learning (ML) models are prone to a phenomenon known as model decay, meaning performance tends to worsen over time as the characteristics of the data set begin to change. Additionally, ML models require sufficient data to learn from, and make accurate predictions. This study investigates the effects of varying how frequently a model is retrained (retraining interval) and the number of lagged data points to use as features (sequence length). The effects are measured on three ML models: a deep neural network capable of processing sequential time series data called long-short term memory (LSTM), an ensemble learning algorithm, random forests (RF), combining multiple decision trees to form a final output and a support vector machine (SVM) model capable of mapping non-linear data into higher dimensions to perform linear regression. Each model’s hyperparameters were optimised by a sequential model-based optimiser, Bayesian optimisation, to best fit the USD/ZAR exchange rate. The results from the calibration indicate that the activation function, ReLu, caused problems with convergence in the LSTM model, and the sigmoid and polynomial kernel functions led to poor results for the SVM model. The RF model was the most consistent and was less sensitive to the hyperparameters used. The retraining intervals tested were yearly, bi-yearly, quarterly and monthly. The sequence lengths tested ranged from one to ten previous days used as features. The LSTM model results showed that the best mean squared error (MSE) comes from the 12-month retraining interval, which outperformed the 6, 3 and 1-month intervals by 0.51%, 3.06% and 5.53%, respectively. Sequence lengths had a smaller impact on the LSTM models, with the best MSE values from sequence lengths above 3. The 9-day sequence length had the lowest MSE of 0.2157, which was a 1.76% improvement over the worst MSE from 1 day. Retraining intervals had a greater effect on the RF models, with the MSE of the 12-month intervals having a 1.54%, 6.35% and 10.71% improvement over the 6, 3, and 1-month intervals. RF models using the 1-day sequence length had a 1.54% lower MSE than the 2nd best sequence length. The sequence lengths of 2–10 days had similar performance with all these MSE values within 0.85% of each other. The SVM had the lowest MSE of all the models at 0.02068, with the sequence length being the more critical hyperparameter to consider. Using a 1-day sequence length saw a 1.19% improvement over the 2nd best sequence length of 2 days and was 2.13% lower than the worst sequence length of 10 days. The MSE values from the different retraining intervals were within 0.14%, indicating minimal effects from this hyperparameter.
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    An evaluation of packaging logistics and operating conditions in the macadamia kernel supply chain : a global case study
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2024-03) Els, Zuretha; Louw, Johannes Jacobus; Freiboth, Heinrich Wilhelm; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. Dept. of Logistics.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: The South African macadamia nut industry has grown significantly over the last decade and South Africa, together with Australia, dominates the global macadamia market. In 2021, South Africa exported approximately 98 percent of its macadamia nut produce. With significant growth, this industry’s importance and economic impact should be noticed. Macadamia nuts require adequate packaging as it needs protection from various operating conditions, such as vibration, shocks, temperature variations, and moisture exposure. If not protected from these operating conditions, the packaging and the product may be damaged and may contribute to food loss along the supply chain. Packaging logistics, a young and emerging research field, integrates packaging- and logistics systems and impacts numerous logistics processes in a supply chain. It can considerably affect supply chain performance as well. This highlights the importance of making informed packaging decisions, which can help to reduce overall costs, reduce the environmental effect of packaging, as well as increase the value of packaged products. Although this research field is emerging, there is still room for contributing research. The main aim of this study was to evaluate whether standard shipping containers with thermal liners and desiccant materials can be an alternative solution for the shipping of macadamia kernels while still protecting the product and its packaging from various operating conditions. Furthermore, the research study wanted to shed light on the current packaging performance and potentially highlights areas where the case study stakeholders perceive the packaging system can improve. This research study followed a deductive research approach where quantitative and qualitative data was collected from the case study stakeholders, The Macadamia Company and The Packaging Company. The researcher combined the use of the Packaging Performance Methodology, including packaging scorecards, as well as intelligent data loggers inside a sample of shipping containers, supplemented by secondary location data. In general, the packaging system performed well, but security and packaging waste requires attention. For the sample of containers that were observed, major shock events were only observed at the handling points. Furthermore, as expected, temperature variation appears to be more of a challenge in standard containers with thermal liners and desiccant materials than the refrigerated container. However, relative humidity was outside the desired range in the refrigerated container while being more satisfactory in standard containers with thermal liners and desiccant materials. Based on the results of this study, it appears that standard containers with thermal liners and desiccant materials may be a viable alternative packaging and shipping method for macadamia kernels, but more extensive research is needed.
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    A toolkit for cold chain requirements for the physical distribution between South African retail distribution centres : a perishable food case
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Sam, Caryn Lisa; Goedhals-Gerber, Leila Louise; van Eeden, Joubert; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. Dept. of Logistics.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: Food loss is of great concern globally as large quantities of food are lost on an annual basis. This is a growing concern for all countries, especially where developing countries like South Africa, are concerned. A third of the edible food available in South Africa is lost, which equates to an estimated 10.3 million tonnes of food per annum. The significant amount of food loss is alarming for South Africa when examined from an economic, social and environmental perspective. Food loss occurs at various stages of the value chain, with 20% occurring during distribution and retail, which motivated the need for this study. The main aim of this research was to develop a toolkit for cold chain requirements for the physical distribution between South African retail distribution centres, specifically for perishable food products. This toolkit was developed with the sole purpose of enlightening stakeholders within the retail supply chain and creating a sense of awareness around contributing factors to food loss within the cold chain. This is done by providing information and guidelines on cold chain requirements for perishable food products and is directed towards South African retail supply chains. This research followed a deductive approach and the methodological choice for this thesis included a mixed-method approach for data collection. This approach allows the researcher to gather data by integrating qualitative and quantitative data. The time horizon for this research was cross-sectional as it took place at a single point in time. The data collection methods consisted of primary and secondary data. Primary qualitative data were collected in the form of exploratory, semi-structured and validation interviews. In addition, this thesis used secondary qualitative data in the form of a stakeholder analysis and a systematic literature review and secondary quantitative data in the form of historical temperature data. The research successfully met all the research objectives by answering all the research questions and ultimately developing a toolkit. The toolkit provides guidelines that promote best practices within the cold chain to ensure that perishable food products reach consumers at optimal quality and reduce food loss within the supply chain. The toolkit serves as a resource that offers guidelines and insights into the cold chain requirements for perishable food items along with workable solutions to address commonly faced challenges in this segment of the supply chain. The toolkit was validated by industry experts to ensure the reliability and validity of the toolkit.