A conceptual framework model for an effective cold food chain management in sustainability environment
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Purpose: There is a large number of perishable foodstuffs produced, stored, distributed and delivered daily around the world. Almost all except for root vegetables are sensitive products to temperature. Thus, adopting uninterrupted and appropriate logistics activities with predetermined range of temperature from production site until end-user is critical for ensuring required quality and safety. If a mistake is made during either transport or storage, it not only becomes risky for human health, but also generates huge food waste for the environment and negative economic impact for food providers. Therefore, this study aims to identify all potential factors affecting the cold chain performance in the food industry and to design a framework that includes these factors. This framework is also a roadmap for managers, food providers and logistics parties for sustainable cold chain management. Design/methodology/approach: Considering, tangible and intangible potential criteria, the ultimate goal of this study is to identify potential criteria affecting cold food chain performance and propose a conceptual framework including 12 main criteria. Next, the importance order of each criterion and the causal relationships between them are determined. In this study, this relationship among criteria is analyzed by using fuzzy Decision-making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) approach because of its ability to solve complex problems by ensuring causal relationship among factors, additionally to determine importance order. Finally, suggestions for administrative implications are presented. Findings: Fuzzy DEMATEL was used to explain the causal link and importance order among identified drivers. The analysis shows that five criteria (C1, C3, C8, C9 and C12) belong to cause (influential) groups and remaining seven criteria belong to effect (influenced) groups. The highest influential criterion is staff (C8) and is followed by technical issues (C9) as the second most influential factor. Additionally, top three most important factors are traceability (C7), staff (C8) and cold transportation (C5). According to the numerical results of fuzzy DEMATEL implementations, suggestions for managerial implementations are presented. Practical implications: The main contribution of the study is to propose meaningful suggestions for managerial implications about sustainable cold chain in food industry for businesses and to examine causal relations between criteria and to rank criteria in descending importance order. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that focuses on determining the potential criteria affecting cold supply chain performance both theoretically and empirically in the sustainability environment. What are the enablers that affect the cold food supply chain stages is the research question of this study.
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