Question: vitacress is one of europes leading suppliers of fresh produce...
Vitacress is one of Europe's leading suppliers of fresh produce, specialising in watercress, salads and fresh
herbs. Established in Hampshire, UK, 1951, Vitacress became part of the RAR Group in 2008. Vitacress has a
wide range of customers in the UK and is branded market-leader in Portugal and also operates in Spain, the
Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Vitacress employs 1500 people across Europe. Vitacress has farms in the
UK, Portugal, Germany and Spain.
Vitacress Portugal started its activity in 1980 with the production of watercress in a farm in Almancil (close to
Faro). Currently, Vitacress Portugal has three production sites with a total area of 280 hectares: it maintains the
site in Almancil to produce watercress and has sites in Odemira and Alcochete to produce herbs and vegetables.
Vitacress Portugal also has a factory in Odemira, employing 240 employees, where all its vegetables and herbs
are prepared and packaged for sale. In the high season, 5600 packages of vegetables are produced daily in this
The Almancil farm has 20 hectares totally dedicated to cultivate watercress. The watercress seeds are bought
from a specialist producer of seeds. The seeds are germinated in soil beds and then are transplanted to water
beds where they grow until being ready to be harvested. The theoretical capacity of this farm is 1700 tons per
year and the average annual production is 1000 tons of watercress per year. All watercress produced in the
Almancil farm is transported in Vitacress trucks to the Odemira factory in order to be prepared for sale. Bagged
watercress is sold to supermarkets and other customers in Portugal and abroad. The quantities to be sold are
agreed with customers more than one year in advance, but demand varies during the year because it only
supplies the UK markets during the winter. In the other seasons, watercress is sold only to Portugal and Spain.
Source: Adapted from Vitacress official websites (consulted 15/01/2019), complemented with information available at Vitacress reports.
a) Characterize the operations that take place at the Vitacress farm located in Almancil. Use the 4 Vs
profile. Justify your answer and discuss the main consequences of this profile for operations
b) Identify the type(s) of process and type(s) of layout that you consider to be most appropriate for the
operations that take place at the Almancil farm. Justify your answer.
c) Based on the information provided, characterize the options made by Vitacress Portugal in terms of
supply chain design, focusing specifically on the direction, extension and balance of vertical
integration, and discuss the main advantages and disadvantages of these options