Areas of Focus
There is a critical common need for both domestic and international food chains to embody engineering systems that integrate the flow of food through the diverse components of the chains. Most food chains are loosely coupled entities with limited coordination, imperfect alignment, and inconsistent infrastructure and processes. The result is tremendous waste and excessive safety risk combined with loss of product and excessive logistics costs. Food chain integration requires that entities within the food supply chain cooperate to achieve certain desired results. The foundation for integration is that each component in the food chain must themselves be operated effectively. However, for effective integration, companies must consider both their own needs and those of downstream participants in operating their portion of the cold chain.
In an effort to identify and resolve critical integration issues across the end-to-end food chain and foster effective integration along the food chain, Georgia Tech's Supply Chain and Logistics Institute and Sterling Solutions LLC established the Integrated Food Chain (IFC) Center as a collaborative effort among academic, government and industry constituents. The research focus is on designing, analyzing and continuously improving cold chains for perishable food products with a vision is to assure that growers, processors, retailers and logistics providers can deliver on their "quality promise" in highly efficient ways through the use of systematic and synchronized linkages throughout their supply/cold chains. The IFC center provides strategic leadership and direction for collaboration among all of the stakeholders in the food chain to understand and prioritize problems; research and determine the methodologies, processes and technologies to overcome these problems; and leverage education to provide the human capital necessary to plan and execute exceptional food chains.