Optimization strategies for the integrated management of perishable supply chains: A literature review

Giovanni Mirabelli, Vittorio Solina


Purpose: The main purpose of this article is to systematically review the papers published in the period 2005-2020 about the integration of production, inventory and distribution activities in perishable supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach: The proposed research methodology is based on several steps. First, database and keywords are selected, with the aim to search and collect the main papers, dealing with the integration of production, inventory, distribution activities in perishable supply chains. Then, a bibliometric analysis is carried out, to detect: the main publishing sources, the chronological distribution, the most used keywords, the featured authors, about the selected papers. A five-dimension classification framework is proposed to carry out a content analysis, where the papers of the literature review are classified and discussed, according to: supply chain structure, objective, perishability issues, solution approach, approach validation. 

Findings: Interest in the application of optimization models for integrated decision-making along perishable supply chains is strongly growing. Integrating multiple stages of the supply chain into a single framework is complex, especially when referring to perishable products. The vast majority of the problems addressed are then NP-Hard. Only a limited quantity of the selected papers aims to solve real-life case studies. There is a need for further research, which is capable of modeling and quantitatively improving existing supply chains. The potentials of Industry 4.0 are currently little explored.  

Originality/value: Based on the analysis of the papers published, this article outlines the current state of the art on the optimization strategies for the integrated management of perishable supply chains, which are very complex to be managed. Research trends and gaps are discussed, future challenges are presented. 


Literature review, perishable products, supply chain management, inventory management, production, distribution

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3926/jiem.3603

Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2024

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience