Campus Units

Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Proceedings of the 2016 Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference

Conference Title

2016 Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference

Conference Date

May 21-24, 2016


Anaheim, CA


Food hubs aggregate and distribute regionally-produced food and help small and mid-sized farmers find markets for their products. They provide a valuable service as an intermediary between consumers and farmers who value sustainable food systems. However, their internal operations are often highly inefficient, and as a result they struggle to meet their customers’ expectations. To maintain low operational costs, food hubs often depend upon volunteer labor. However, an inconsistent and improperly trained volunteer labor force can lead to inventory and order fulfillment errors. Additionally, because many food hubs are unable to afford sophisticated inventory management software, they employ ad-hoc methods to track inventory and sales. This results in inadequate data collection to support decision making. In this paper we identify the operational challenges that regional food hubs commonly face, and we evaluate methods based on lean principles for overcoming these challenges, including standardized work procedures, process improvement mechanisms, and efficient data capturing techniques.


This is a published proceeding from the 2016 Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference. Posted with permission.

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