The Honeycomb model: A platform for systematic analysis of different manufacturing scenarios for fast-moving consumer goods

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  • University of Manchester


Consumer interest in environmentally friendly goods has introduced concepts and ideas about the manufacturing/consumption of local products as an alternative to large-scale centralized manufacturing. It has been proposed that small-scale production will reduce the CO2 emissions associated with transportation and strengthen local economies at the same time. However, these small-scale local manufacture systems might not necessarily lead to a more sustainable production system. In this paper, “the honeycomb model” is proposed as a computational framework for the simulation and optimization of manufacturing and distribution of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) from an integrated techno-economic and environmental point of view. The manufacturing of tomato paste has been chosen as representative case study, and a systematic evaluation of optimum manufacturing configurations under different scenarios has been performed. The results of this analysis indicate that a shift towards a favorable distributed manufacturing is obtained in systems with large product demand and/or located at regions of big size, while centralization of production is favorable in systems with relatively small product demand and/or located at regions of modest size. In addition, centralized manufacturing is favored when there are significant differences in the carbon footprint of the raw materials depending on their origin. Overall, the honeycomb model can be used as a method to assess financial and environmental sustainability impact of alternative manufacturing scenarios for different FMCG's.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-326
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date10 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • disturbed manufacturing, centralized manufacturing, sustainability, precess optimization, MINLP, fast-moving consumer goods