<p>The overall research objective is to contribute to closing the gap in research and knowledge on the role of uncertainty of costs and benefits in a firm’s decision to invest in enhanced traceability and the impact on the performance of traceability investments. Three specific research questions are derived from this goal that will guide data collection and analysis:
<ol><li>Assess the importance uncertainty of the cost of change and the uncertainty of benefits as barriers to the implementation of enhanced traceability practices/systems, relative to other key barriers identified in the literature; </li>
<li>Identify whether, and if so, how uncertainties have been effectively reduced prior to implementation, e.g. through building change management capacity; </li>
<li>Determine whether uncertainty prior to implementation affects traceability performance.
The project results will increase the evidence-based knowledge base for industry decisions to invest in traceability and for government to develop resources for effective implementation assistance.</li></ol></p>
<p>The uncertainty of costs and benefits in traceability program implementation are not well understood. More specifically, the costs associated with firm level organizational change in processes and responsibilities have received little attention, even though inappropriate change management can quickly exceed cost of hardware, software and equipment. The lack of empirically quantified economic benefits of traceability at the firm level creates an incentive gap, leading to lagging uptake in Ontario's agri-food sector. Using a systematic literature review, stakeholder interviews and a survey, the uncertainties surrounding key benefits, success factors and costs of traceability, as well as effective strategies for reducing uncertainty will be identified and analysed. This project will help OMAF/MRA to reduce the uncertainty surrounding traceability implementation, by closing a knowledge gap, in order to increase the uptake of traceability in Ontario’s agri-food industry. </p>