Full chain traceability requires alignment amongst several organizations, common language and terms of communication, adaptation of core business processes, and a compelling business case to enable the flow of capital either internally or from external sources. Organizations have different motivations for implementing traceability, and understand and leveraging critical factors such as long-term financing, human behavior and culture, legacy systems and infrastructure, and even political context is a complex yet necessary process for successful traceability systems.
Future of Fish created the Fishery Development Model (FDM) to help fisheries and supply chain actors consider the full spectrum of needs and requirements that must be satisfied to make material progress on traceability implementation, identifying key incentives to drive and align interests.
Organizations are typically in pursuit of different outcomes when it comes to traceability. During our case study research, we looked to identify whytraceability was being pursued, and from where in the system the desire for traceability arose. We then created a “deployment topology”, which indicates the leading motivation, and the node in the supply chain from which the traceability program was initiated (“deal origin”).
The key takeaway from this analysis is that organizations have different motivations for implementing traceability. Thus, a mid-chain organization may not be compelled by fishery improvements, and retailers may not be compelled by a competitive advantage argument. In order for traceability implementation to work, identification and then alignment of these motivations across the various supply chain actors, was often a critical step.
Just as the motivations driving traceability can differ among supply chain actors, so too, can the challenges. However, our research has shown that there are several common and pervasive barriers that prevent full chain traceability adoption:
• Financing: Seafood organizations often lack capital to purchase a traceability system, and larger organizations were not convinced of the ROI to release an appropriate budget. In addition, grant-based funding for traceability has declined in recent years, as the philanthropic community has become less interested or willing to pay for traceability implementations.
• Interoperability: Organizations tend to adopt the system that works best for their own internal needs; these systems typically have not been designed to communicate easily with other systems adopted by trading partners or companies further up or down the supply chain. This results in costly, complicated customizations to enable communication among systems. Beyond technical limitations of systems to communicate with each other, there is also an ongoing debate and overall lack of clarity as to which data elements need to be shared among stakeholders.
• Alignment: Per the deployment topology introduced above, many of the supply chains studied did not adequately tailor the value proposition of traceability to the stakeholders from whom buy-in was required. Thus, some stakeholders were eager to adopt while others resisted (or implemented traceability in a superficial way to meet minimum requirements from buyers).
The FDM Framework
As a framework, the FDM consists of five interdependent streams that reinforce the conditions for successful traceability deployment (Table 2). These five streams help ensure all of the major components of the system are considered when designing a fishery transformation—taking a system lens increases the likelihood that efforts leverage existing resources to full effect and account for direct and indirect threats to successful traceability adoption.
The FDM streams do not operate in isolation; in fact, there are strong inter- dependencies among the streams when it comes to supporting successful traceability
deployment. Recognizing and factoring these dependencies into cross-disciplinary planning and coordination is necessary for maximizing success.