On the design of cooperative vendors’ networks in retail food supply chains: a logistics-driven approach, 2018



This paper explores the impact of the adoption of a cooperative approach on retail food supply chains, whose performances are strongly affected by the daily planning of deliveries from vendors. This approach requires a horizontal communication among vendors, and might result in minimising the overall transport costs. Nevertheless, the proper trade-off between costs and return is hard to be foreseen. Building on existing studies, this paper investigates the benefits and the opportunities deriving from the vendors’ collaboration on the delivery process. We provide a decision support tool using an integer linear programming model to explore in a what-if multi-scenario analysis the trade-off between competitive and cooperative delivery regimes. The distribution of order release and fleet availability couple with the geography of the network, allowing for the identification of thresholds of mutual convenience in shifting from a competitive to a cooperative regime. Our methodology, applied to a case study from a regional retailer supply chain, highlights evident benefits, which are sometimes up to 40% of the overall costs, for the retailer, the carriers, and the vendors. Furthermore, accounting for those costs, the tool identifies, for a given supply chain, who actually gains from the collaboration and what those gains are.