Industry Internship: Utilising Daitum’s decision-based analytics to optimise transportation efficiencies for Foodbank

Industry internships form a vital part of the educational experience in our Global Food and Agricultural Business degrees. Industry internships form a vital part of the educational experience in our Global Food and Agricultural Business degrees.

As part of his final research project, Master of Global Food and Agricultural Business student Alfi Dawson secured an internship with impact, partnering with Australia-based AI company Daitum, and Australia’s largest food relief organisation Foodbank to optimise transportation efficiencies.

“I wanted to build my career as a logistics and supply chain professional in the global food and agribusiness industry. This internship has given me hands-on experience and the opportunity to implement my theoretical knowledge into the real word.” says Alfi, who was responsible for managing the relationship, and research inputs between the two high profile organisations.

The primary objective of this research project was to understand the management of transportation including food pickup and delivery. This is a significant challenge faced by Foodbank due to the rise in demand for services, and an increase in hunger as a direct result of the global pandemic. “At the time of the project, logistics operations were manual and dependant on human routing.” says Alfi, who found that the system did not account for increased demand, or factor in the costs associated with logistics.

Partnering with AI firm Daitum, the project involved using decision-based analytics to develop a planning and resource utilisation system, greatly improving the scheduling of Foodbank deliveries, making them more efficient and cost effective.

Group photo

Alfi Dawson, Tony Purdon, Ron Iasiello, Philipp Rohlfshagen, Theo Simos (from left to right)

These results promoted the development of an optimiser tool that is now used daily to improve Foodbank transportation efficiencies. This optimiser tool has reduced Foodbank’s operational costs, improved volunteer driver and vehicle utilisation, and allowed Foodbank to cope with additional demand for its poverty alleviation services.

The research project found that the optimiser model, developed by Daitum and implemented in Foodbank, can be further adopted and commercialised for other applications within Foodbanks around Australia or with other clients needing logistics solutions.

Throughout his internship experience, Alfi was involved in strategy meetings and brainstorming sessions with both companies, giving him exposure to problem solving in real-life scenarios. Supporting the academic requirements of his internship was his supervisor Theo Simos.

Theo Simos continuously helped me during meeting and even in every dilemma faced during this internship, his continuous motivation and endeavour to teaching me soft skills has helped me the most.” Says Alfi of his supervisor.

When reflecting on his time working on the project with Daitum and Foodbank, Alfi had an incredibly positive experience which has helped him develop professionally and personally.

This internship has helped me to learn soft skills, understand logistics operations for non-profit organisations, helped me in networking, and enhanced my data analysis and policy writing skillssays Alfi

Industry Internships can be taken as part of the 3-part research capstone in the Master of Global Food and Agribusiness program. Supported by the Program Director Craig Johns and Associate Professor Dr Adam Loch, students are paired with agribusiness organisations to apply their theoretical knowledge to real-world challenges. Alfi’s experiences undertaking the industry internship has only solidified his aspiration to pursue a career in supply chain and logistics.

After I graduate, I would like to be part of a global food brand in logistics or supply chain, working as a transportation scheduling and inventory coordinator.”

Much like Alfi, you too can turn your passion into a career with a qualification in Global Food and Agricultural Business.  Domestic Scholarships are now available for eligible students in 2021. Check out our website for more details.

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