Inbound Logistics of Sugarcane: Problem Identifications and Process Improvement

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Sathaporn Opasanon
Pattarakamol Lertsanti


                 Sugar industry has become a dominant factor in Thailand’s economic. The demand for sugar tends to be increasing due to the scarce of sugar encountered around the world. This research studied the current inbound logistics process of a Thai sugar production company and investigated the logistics issues associated with the company’s material management. The research methodology employed in data collection consisted of in-depth interview and field observation.  The root causes of the problems together with preliminary solutions were indentified through a widely used logistics diagnosis technique, the Casual Loop Diagram.

                 The results show that the company is encountering significant logistics issues impeding an efficient Supply Chain operation. The so-called three major issues include: 1) the quality of sugarcane delivered to the sugarcane processing, 2) the quantity of sugarcane delivered to the sugarcane processing; and 3) the queueing management of sugarcane delivery trucks at the plant. It was discovered that these issues are heavily intertwined and caused by the same root cause, the poor relationship management between the plant and raw material suppliers (i.e. sugarcane farmers). Three potential solutions were preliminarily proposed to relieve the corresponding symptoms. The research findings will be used in further development of action plans for logistics efficiency enhancement in the future.

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