An evaluation of the literature on integrated sugarcane production systems A scientometrical approach
University of Kwazulu Natal
Logistically, the sugarcane supply and processing chain up to the raw sugar stage is driven by biophysical push factors rather than market-related pull factors. Sugarcane systems do not align fully with lean and agile supply chain thinking. This paper synthesizes a range of issues governing the sugarcane supply and processing chain. This synthesis was achieved through scientometrical analyses of a worldwide collection of publications. The aim was to develop a conceptual sugarcane supply chain framework and to evaluate research trends, knowledge gaps and limitations. Key system properties were identified from the literature and co-word analyses were carried out. Several exploratory exercises were executed on the co-occurrence matrix using the PAJEK software. The literature generally focuses on material handling issues in isolation from other factors, such as collaboration, information sharing and innovation. Impacts of harvesting on downstream processes remain a pertinent research topic. Also, emerging alternative products impose new complexities on the supply chain. Conflicting grower miller relationships still suppress collaboration in most parts of the world. Mathematical modelling is a popular technique to produce innovative system improvements. Models, however, tend towards finding long-term solutions and lack the development of operational short-term applications. Production risk is an area that needs more focus. Researchers need to consider the supply chain more holistically, not only with respect to different dimensions in the chain (such as profitability, innovation, information and collaboration), but also within the local commercial socioeconomic regime.