As a leading international location, ongoing innovation is crucial for Zuidas. Take the food supply chain to the district’s many food outlets and catering venues. Research shows that distribution for food services is creating major complications in the district. Fortunately, there’s also a lot of interest in bringing about changes. Now, a partnership between Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Local2Local and Hello Zuidas is tackling catering logistics. The primary goal of this project is a more sustainable logistics chain of locally-sourced products for caterers and restaurateurs in Zuidas. Currently leading the pilot is Amsterdam UMC’s VUmc location. Ron de Lang, hospitality and patient nutrition manager at VUmc, and AUAS students Jesse Warnaar and Jurgen van den Hazel will be working with Local2Local to assess if food boxes, fruit baskets and/or shared catering logistics can be replaced by local products and fewer transport movements. The pilot will take place until December 2021.
Catering logistics for Amsterdam UMC spans two distinct processes: one is the delivery of products at the hospital’s rear service entry, the other constitutes internal logistics to all the individual units. Ron explains, “These are unprocessed products that still need to be prepared in our kitchens, as well as ready-to-serve products that we supply straight to the units.” The area with considerable room and a real need for improvement is logistics movements, most notably the cross-docking process. Most UMC suppliers deliver goods themselves, but there’s not actually enough space at the loading and unloading dock to organize this efficiently. It also necessitates lots of vehicle moments, contributing to carbon and particulate emissions in Zuidas. “We want to improve this by having suppliers cross-dock at another location and organizing grouped deliveries so more goods can be delivered to Amsterdam UMC using fewer vehicles. So, this is good for both our own logistics and the environment, and it also saves our suppliers time and money.”
Both students are interested in logistics and are very excited about this pilot. “Before this, I did research on urban logistics in Amsterdam, for the navy yard and Food Center Amsterdam”, Jurgen says. “This project really runs the whole gamut.” Jesse was looking for a way to pair his passion for food with his degree in industrial engineering and management. “The goal of this project – the use of local products in urban areas – is something I support one hundred per cent. If we want healthy and flavourful food, we should be going for ethical domestic products rather than sourcing products elsewhere in the world”, he emphasizes.
Fresh and non-perishable
At present, 800 hospital staff at the Boelelaan location can place orders with a range of suppliers. Once all the orders are in, the delivery services gather the products and combine them for direct transport. “In our case, we use two lorries, because we order from both the fresh food and dry goods assortments. But from past experience we know that, unfortunately, fresh goods from the baker’s, butcher’s and produce are still being supplied separately”, Ron says. Jesse nods, “There’s been no real assessment yet of where these products are coming from. We want to look into the possibilities for sourcing and supplying local products”. Ron adds: “That’s more complicated than it sounds, especially with big organizations like Amsterdam UMC. We’re drowning in rules, purchasing conditions and logistics problems.”
At Amsterdam UMC, there are three facets to the ordering process: product selection, logistics processes and sustainability. This project will tackle all three. “We’ll certainly have our work cut out for us”, Ron acknowledges, “but our students Jesse and Jurgen will guide us with the research piece on how to approach the implementation. And we already know that these solutions may apply not only to Amsterdam UMC, but to Zuidas as a whole”. Which is a great opportunity for the students: “We’re interested to learn that all of Zuidas is involved and that this research is being tested in practice, which gives us the feeling that our theses are making a real difference!”, Jesse says. Jurgen agrees, “Thanks to this we’re getting a good picture of how we can put the theory we’ve learned into practice”.