This project considers the avocado supply chain of Bertie van Zyl (Pty) Ltd, more commonly
known as ZZ2. ZZ2 s avocado production is rapidly expanding and they are currently
introducing Ripe and Ready avocados into the market. Ripe and ready avocados are
avocados that have been ripened in ripening chambers at ZZFresh in Lanseria. There are
however, added risks to ripening fruit. Since avocados only show bruising when they ripen,
independent of where in the supply chain the bruising occurred, the fruit could show damage
after the ripening process. According to research conducted by Ogunleye & Adefemi (2007)
post-harvest losses are approximately 10-20% worldwide. It is therefore important for ZZ2 to
limit post-harvest losses as far as possible
In order to successfully ripen avocados, a synchronized supply chain that can ensure the
timely delivery of unbruised avocados is required. To achieve this, strict control over the
post-harvest supply chain processes needs to be implemented. Since there are so many
variables that influence agricultural practices, this can be a challenge. The aim of this project
is to carefully analyse the supply to identify possible areas for improvements and develop
suggested solutions for these problems.
Firstly existing literature from similar enterprises were researched. Six different Industrial
Engineering Mechanisms that could help with the completion of this project were also
researched and reviewed. These techniques include time studies, method engineering,
business process modelling notation (BPMN), information systems design, supply chain
operations reference (SCOR) and business model canvas (BMC). The results can be seen
in the Literature review.
For the AS-IS analysis, time was spent carefully analysing each section of the supply chain.
A batch of avocados was followed through the entire supply chain whilst time, temperature
and humidity measurements were taken. The supply chain was also mapped with BPMN to
help clearly understand all the processes and how they interact with each other.
Through the supply chain analysis two key problems were identified: Problem 1: Addressing
damage caused to the trees during the picking process. Problem 2: Addressing the lack of
information captured throughout the supply chain. These problems are addressed in two
separate chapters. Each of the problems were carefully analysed and alternative solutions
were developed. The alternative solutions were then evaluated against criteria and the
optimal solution chosen.
For the first problem, the chosen solution to reduce the climbing of the trees is to improve
the picking pole that the workers use to pick the fruit. A new picking pole was designed,
developed and built. A time study was done to compare the new picking pole to the current
design. The results show that the new picking pole picks avocados faster than the current
picking pole, reducing the average picking time per fruit from 13.98 seconds to 7.04
seconds, a reduction of 49.65 %, almost cutting the picking time per fruit in half. The new
pole is also more accurate. On average one in three tries (34.4%) with the current picking
pole does not cut the fruit compared to only 12.96% missis from the new pole. This can be
attributed to the fact that the new pole requires much less aiming than the new pole. Further
improvements for the new design were also discussed. These improvements include
increasing the ring diameter as well as the bag size, selecting the best material for the bag
and increasing the length of the cutting blades.
The second problem is addressed in a separate chapter. To attempt to satisfy a growing
demand for ripe and ready avocados, ZZ2 will need to utilise the ripening chambers at their
full capacity. If the correct information could be captured, at the right times into a central
database, the data could then be extracted from the database and used to calculate more
accurately the ripening time and conditions required for each batch of avocados. Accurate
and reliable information is therefore required throughout the supply chain.
To ensure all the information that is required is captured, a flow chart was developed that
maps out each section of the supply chain. The flow chart lists at each section of the supply
chain the data fields that need to be captured. This information is then used to construct an
Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD). An ERD is a graphical representation of an information
system that defines the relationship between people, objects and places that form a system
(Rouse, 2014). Linking the correct entities for the ERD would also create a path of
traceability, implying that a final product, such as a box of avocados, could be traced back
through the supply chain. In addition to determining a more accurate ripening time, this
would allow ZZ2 to answer questions such as who handled the fruit and from which field and
when the fruit was harvested.
This project forms a full avocado supply chain analysis, looking at pre-harvest, harvesting
and post-harvest operations. The information gathered through this project can aid ZZ2 in
improving their avocado supply chain by eliminating problem areas in order successfully
implement the ripening process at ZZFresh.
Mini-dissertation (Final year project) (BEng)--University of Pretoria, 2015.