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Economic simulation of a poultry supply chain facing a sanitary crisis

Thi Le Hoa Vo (LEMNA University of Nantes, ENITIAA, EMN, Nantes, France, and CREM UMR CNRS 6211, University of Rennes 1, Rennes, France)
Daniel Thiel (UFR Sciences Economiques et Gestion – CEPN, UMR CNRS 7115, University of Paris 13, Villetaneuse, France)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 9 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to study the behaviour of a food supply chain possessing two originalities, i.e. a singular structure (40‐day upstream push and 24‐hour downstream pull) and one that suffers from simultaneous fluctuations in raw material supply capacities (due to epizooty) and customer demand (due to customer anxieties and fears) caused by a sanitary crisis.


A simulation model based on the system dynamics principles of Forrester is developed and applied to the French chicken meat supply chain suffering an Avian Influenza crisis.


This model first enables one us to study the regulation mechanisms of the chain that will improve understanding of the supply chain behaviour under environmental perturbations. A what‐if analysis is then implemented to examine the supply chain stability and the influence of flexibility adjustment times, inventory coverage time, slaughtered chicken buffer size and smoothing policies on the supply chain performance in different crisis fluctuation rate scenarios in order to propose necessary logistic policy enhancements.

Research limitations/implications

This work will improve one's knowledge about the buffer inventory problem and the global stability of this multi‐echelon push‐pull supply chain.

Practical implications

The model can be used as a decision system support which aims to minimise the additional costs due to stock level increases as demand decreases as well as exceptional external purchasing sparked by the lack of available products when there is a sudden hike in demand. The research can help decision‐makers of fresh food push‐pull supply chains when they are facing such crises by using both cybernetic representation and computer simulation.


This study deals with a specific food supply chain within the context of a sanitary crisis. A system dynamics model is presented for studying the behaviour of the entire food supply chain threatened by high uncertainties in the supply capacity as well as in customer demand.



Le Hoa Vo, T. and Thiel, D. (2011), "Economic simulation of a poultry supply chain facing a sanitary crisis", British Food Journal, Vol. 113 No. 8, pp. 1011-1030.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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