Maths + Supply Chain + Logisitcs

During one of our Discovering Mathematics lectures we disccused the idea of mathematics being present in the food industry. Through supply chain and logisitics, we discovered that the food we eat everyday has had a considerable amount of mathematical thought put into it before it reaches our fridge. Everything that you touch and use has come from a supply chain, and you are therefore guaranteed to come accross it in a job role in the future. However this particular discussion was on the supply chain regarding food.

Firstly, we discussed food miles. Food miles relates to the comparison of energy and CO2 emissions used for our food to be transported from different countries within the world. We were given a comparison of Lamb, and whether it would be more cost effective to purchase it from New Zealand or the United Kingdom. This is an important factor that shop owners must be able to work out in order to get the best deal. In the end New Zealand used lower energy and lower emissions in the transportation of lamb, than the United Kingdom. Therefore it would be be an increased benefit to purchase lamb from New Zealand – and this was all worked out through the knowledge of basic maths.

However this is not all that should be considered when transporting food. Factors and fundamental principles of mathematics mentioned in the lecutre, included;

  • mass (weight)
  • size (bluk,length, height, depth)
  • strength
  • temperature requirements
  • distance travelled/time taken (shelf life)

Secondly, we took part in a business simulation, where we became demand planners. It was our job to pick which items to stock in a shop based on the time of year and how successful we thought the sales of the products would be. We were given a list of products and a budget, we were to pick five products which we believed would sell well at the particular time of year. For example, during the Christmas period my team chose to spend a large percentage of our budget on selection boxes. During this period we sold 100% of the selection boxes, therefore we made a successful profit and reduced wastage.  We had to take into account wether food was perishable, how long it would stay in date and popularity. Again, this all linked in with the fundamental principles of mathematics as we were using our knowledge of quantity and addition and subtraction.

This is, therefore, a prime example of the fundamental principles relating to every day life, without us even realising.


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