Sharing information about transported entities – including vehicles, containers, packages and products – between actors within a supply chain is crucial for a number of reasons. This argues the researcher Vahid Mirzabeiki in his dissertation ”Collaborative Tracking and Tracing – A Supply Chain Perspective”. According to the results of Vahid’s research, sharing data through intelligent transportation systems leads to better traceability of products in fresh food supply chains and creates possibilities to increase the safety of cargo trains transporting dangerous goods.
The Chalmers researcher Vahid Mirzabeiki has devoted his time and focus to explore collaborative tracking and tracing systems – as a type of intelligent transportation systems – and the way they support transportation operations for the participating actors of supply chains. In his dissertation he analyses the concept of collaborative tracking and tracing and the effects and the issues related to the use of this method for the supply chain actors.
– Collaborative tracking and tracing happens when actors of supply chains share tracking and tracing data about the transported entities of different levels in the chain, Vahid defines.
This type of data sharing can be enabled by use of auto-identification technology, e.g. Radio Frequency Identification, combined with standardised frameworks for information exchange, which facilitate communication between different actors of a supply chain.
Improved safety and environmental aspects
Part of Vahid’s research has focused on studying how new information and communication technology can lead to increasing safety and security of transportations.
– The collaborative tracking and tracing system could, for instance, be a useful tool for increasing control over the safety of dangerous goods transported by rail wagons, Vahid explains.
One particular field of interest is the food industry and the results of Vahid’s studies show how collaborative tracking and tracing have impact on the management of traceability of food products, which is very significant for controlling the quality and safety of food consumed by people.
– Improving data sharing in food supply chains can affect protection of natural resources and subsequently lead to positive environmental effects which are beneficial for the society, Vahid says. As an important topic, research on food supply chains and traceability of food products is drawing media attention, especially because of the food scandals that has happened in different parts of the world during the recent years.
Continued research in food supply chains
Vahid has conducted his work through case studies and design science as research methods and for collection of empirical data his preferred techniques have been interviews, documentations, archival records as well as direct and participant observations. His research, being of an explorative kind, is aiming to build theory and contributes to previous findings of other researchers by adding information to existing knowledge on the related fields. Thus, he has studied the subjects with a different perspective.
– There is a demand for studying the implementation of information systems in inter-organisational environments of supply chains and my thesis explores this as a novel research area, Vahid explains.
The next step for Vahid is to continue his research on collaboration of actors in food supply chains through a large European project together with multi-national partners, including universities and companies from different European countries. The project will be carried out in his new research environment in UK.
– I am moving to England to continue my carrier as a Senior Research Fellow at Supply Chain Research Centre of Cranfield School of Management at Cranfield University. I will miss Gothenburg and Chalmers a lot, but I am really excited to be able to pursue my interests within Cranfield’s inspiring community, he says.
Facts: Vahid Mirzabeiki carries out research at the Division of Logistics and Transportation at the Department of Technology Management and Economics.
Picture: Oscar Matsson and Swedish Transport Agency