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Challenges regarding implementation of electronic chain traceability

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Purpose ‐ Increased focus on safe and healthy food has resulted in the need for implementing electronic chain traceability. This poses challenges both regarding technical solutions and business processes. The purpose of this paper is to report from a research project where implementation in a value chain for farmed salmon is used to investigate these challenges. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The first step in the project was to establish a complete value chain for farmed salmon as a basis for further study. The second step was to use theoretical concepts of internal traceability and chain traceability as a basis for analyzing the status of each company regarding readiness to implement electronic chain traceability. The third step was to compare the final level of implementation in each company with the level of implementation readiness at the start of the project. Findings ‐ Implementation of electronic chain traceability may involve changes both in work processes and software systems. This study shows that a set of criteria regarding implementation readiness can be used to assess the challenges and risks involved. Coherence between implementation readiness and the final level of implementation is indicated. Research limitations/implications ‐ This research is limited to companies in a specific food sector. The generalization of the results for use in other sectors needs to be investigated. Practical implications ‐ Because of the increasing demand for improving chain traceability, it can be expected that implementation readiness regarding electronic chain traceability solutions will be an important factor in selecting partners in food value chains. Originality/value ‐ The large number of companies involved in this study is a good basis for evaluating the complexity of implementing electronic chain traceability. This paper describes guidelines and assessment criteria for companies planning to implement such solutions.

Keywords: Electronic data interchange; Fish farming; Food industry; Value chain

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-10-02

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