René Villalobos

Rene Villalobos is Associate Professor at Department of Industrial Engineering, Arizona State University.

He holds an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Tecnologico de Chihuahua, a M.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University. His research interests are in the areas of food logistics, applied operations research, automated quality and manufacturing systems. Dr. Villalobos has been active in the area of cross-border logistics and transportation for almost 20 years. He has also directed or codirected projects related to Arizona-Sonora border such as the determination of the capacity of the Guaymas-Arizona multimodal corridor, development forecast models for the Nogales Port of Entry and other projects related to fresh produce transportation and the Port of Guaymas. He is also active in the areas of agricultural and food logistics; areas in which he has worked directly with farmers and decision makers to five practical solutions to complex logistics and distribution problems. Sponsors of Dr. Villalobos’ research include the National Science Foundation, Texas Advanced Technology Program, The Arizona Dept. of Transportation, US Army, Department of Homeland Security and private industry totaling an excess of $3 million dollars. He was the recipient of the 1993 IIE Doctoral Dissertation Award and a 1995 NSF Career Grant. In 2016 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct educational and research activities in Chile.
He has published in journals such as the European Journal of Operational Research, IIE Transactions, the International Journal of Production Research, IEEE Transactions, and the International Journal of Production Economics. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Texas (inactive).

Challenges and opportunities for Operations Research in fresh agri-food supply chains

Over the past few decades, the global fresh agri-food supply chains have undergone major changes, in the way they compete, and operate, where the main driver of such change has been the shifting demand and consumer expectations. Today’s consumer demands a wide assortment of products of high quality, at competitive prices, available at all times; and if possible, produced locally. However, given the perishable nature of these products meeting customer expectations can only be obtained through agile and sophisticated supply chains that are able to move the product from its source to the right customer within a limited time window. The most competitive fresh supply chains are those that are built upon different levels of planning, from tactical, such as harvest schedules, to strategic such as market and product identification.
In this talk we will identify opportunities for OR research at each of the planning levels with an emphasis in Latin America, a region that is particularly well positioned to take advantage of the new global market conditions. However to capture these market opportunities it is necessary to have access to improved decision tools and infrastructure.