Campus Units

Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date

2-2016

Journal or Book Title

Human Factors

Volume

58

Issue

1

First Page

58

Last Page

79

Research Focus Area(s)

Ergonomics and Human Factors

DOI

10.1177/0018720815621173

Abstract

Objective: Factors influencing long-term viability of an intermediated regional food supply network (food hub) were modeled using agent-based modeling techniques informed by interview data gathered from food hub participants.

Background: Previous analyses of food hub dynamics focused primarily on financial drivers rather than social factors and have not used mathematical models.

Method: Based on qualitative and quantitative data gathered from 22 customers and 11 vendors at a midwestern food hub, an agent-based model (ABM) was created with distinct consumer personas characterizing the range of consumer priorities. A comparison study determined if the ABM behaved differently than a model based on traditional economic assumptions. Further simulation studies assessed the effect of changes in parameters, such as producer reliability and the consumer profiles, on long-term food hub sustainability.

Results: The persona-based ABM model produced different and more resilient results than the more traditional way of modeling consumers. Reduced producer reliability significantly reduced trade; in some instances, a modest reduction in reliability threatened the sustainability of the system. Finally, a modest increase in price-driven consumers at the outset of the simulation quickly resulted in those consumers becoming a majority of the overall customer base.

Conclusion: Results suggest that social factors, such as desire to support the community, can be more important than financial factors.

Application: An ABM of food hub dynamics, based on human factors data gathered from the field, can be a useful tool for policy decisions. Similar approaches can be used for modeling customer dynamics with other sustainable organizations.

Comments

This is a manuscript of an article from Human Factors 58 (2016): 58, doi: 10.1177/0018720815621173. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Human Factors & Ergonomics Society

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

Published Version

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