University of Tasmania
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Exploring traceability challenges amongst small businesses in Tasmanian red meat supply chains : the role and potential impact of information technology

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posted on 2023-05-27, 09:41 authored by Amuno, M
This study explores traceability challenges facing Tasmanian small businesses in red meat supply chains. It aims to understand the role and potential impact of implementing low-cost information technologies for responding to these challenges both within the individual firm and at different points along the red meat supply chain. Based on evidence gathered from this exploratory study, this will develop an alternative framework for small business to more easily implement some low-cost mobile technologies in their supply chain at different points to enhance traceability and potentially for responding to some of the critical challenges it faces. This exploratory research is underpinned by an interpretivist epistemology and subjective ontology. The research strategy involves the conduct of four case studies involving 9 small businesses operating in Tasmania's red meat industry supply chain. The case studies are described as follows: (i) Case study 1 (pre-slaughter beef supply chain segment)-The supply chain comprises of 2 small businesses, and they include: (a) farmer/cattle transport (1 participant); and (b) saleyard operations (2 participants); (ii) Case study 2 (post-slaughter beef supply chain segment): The supply chain comprises of 3 small businesses, and they include: (a) stock agent (1 participant); (b) wholesale(1 participant); and (c) retail butcher (1 participant); (iii) Case study 3 (lamb meat supply chain)-The supply chain comprises of 3 small businesses, and they include: (a) Lamb farmer/transport (1 participant); (b) meat processor (1 participant); and (c) cold chain/retail butcher (2 participants); and (iv) Case study 4 (retail butcher)-This case study involved only 1 retail butcher(1 participant) aligned to a beef supply chain in Tasmania. Each of the four cases is structured in a three-phased approach of pre-intervention (baseline), technology intervention, and post-intervention (evaluation). The pre-intervention phase itself involves three steps, namely: (a) industry familiarisation; (b) supply chain mapping and technology audits; (c) and baseline data collection. The technology intervention phase involved the development and implementation of some low-cost mobile wireless technologies aimed at enhancing visibility and traceability in different segments of the red meat supply chain, and these segments were selected based on requirements identified in Phase 1. The post-intervention evaluation phase involved the collection of feedback from the small businesses that participated in the baseline mapping and technology intervention phase to understand the role and potential impact of enhanced traceability in their business and along their supply chains. In framing the approach, the research utilised a heuristics framework adapted from the work of Caridi et al., (2010) to guide the quantitative baseline data collection on each participant's level of visibility to the potential traceability challenges faced in their supply chain segment. The framework utilises three significant information quality (IQ) criteria, namely: (i) accessibility, (ii) freshness and currency, and (iii) accuracy. The research has generated some key findings across the three-phased investigation, including: a. Issues relating to small business technology awareness, cost of technology implementation & training, and technology complexity were not found to be significant barriers facing small businesses in enhancing their traceability. Although several studies have reported extensively on these challenges (Hardt, Flett et al. 2017, Lewis and Boyle 2017), this research reveals that these factors were not the significant inhibitors to traceability improvement. Instead, it was continued small business owners perception of the limited value/benefit of enhancing their traceability beyond merely compliance paper-based approaches that remained the primary inhibitor. b. Implementing low-cost mobile technologies were perceived to have negative impacts amongst some of the small businesses because they viewed the interventions as contributing to (1) unnecessary information overload; (2) higher accountability expectations that may damage the long term supply chain relationships built over time; (3) new avenues for opportunistic behaviour from other actors due to gaining access to new data; (4) potential for incorrect and subjective interpretation, and unwarranted feedback from other actors without understanding the context of the supply chain and the difficult nature of the job.


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Copyright 2019 the author The following published article is related to chapters 1 and 3: Amuno, M., Turner, P., Taskhiri, M. S., 2018. Mitigating traceability risks amongst SMEs along the beef supply chain: A multiple case study approach to investigating the role and potential impact of Information technology, ACIS 2018 Proceedings, 49. Copyright: Copyright 2018 authors. It is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Australia License, ( which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and ACIS are credited

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