Dynamic Implications of Adopting Information Transparency in the Beef Supply Chain: A System Dynamics Approach
The U.S. food supply chain, particularly the beef industry, faces growing demands for transparency and traceability due to increased consumer awareness of environmental and social impacts. A lack of transparency and access to information, along with misinformation, pose challenges to brand trust and supply chain efficiency. Emerging information technologies like RFID and blockchain are being explored to enhance traceability and information transparency, forming the topic of this dissertation.
This study aims to understand how the growing demand for transparency in the U.S. beef industry could reshape its supply chain structure and dynamics. It comprehensively examines the potential of information technologies like blockchain to enhance traceability, reduce transaction costs and information asymmetry and shift the supply chain structure to vertical coordination.
To achieve these objectives, we employed System Dynamics (SD) to model the U.S beef supply chain from 2013 to 2022, leveraging on existing literature and statistical data. This methodology was selected because of its unique ability to capture dynamic complexities and feedback among variables, allowing us to assess market dynamics and evaluate potential changes in the beef supply chain under different information technology scenarios. The model was evaluated through a series of tests and demonstrated its efficacy in simulating and analyzing the dynamics of the beef supply chain.
We simulated a wide range of key policy initiatives on both supply and demand sides of the beef supply chain. Our findings reveal that blockchain adoption is influenced by various factors such as market dynamics, consumer preferences, and existing power imbalances within the supply chain. Scenario analyses suggest that larger firms may be less incentivized to adopt blockchain if the market isn't ready for transparency, due to high implementation costs. Conversely, smaller firms could benefit from reduced transaction costs. Also, our results show an increased willingness to pay for transparent beef boosts the market for smaller firms and raises beef prices. Regulatory intervention may be necessary to balance the power dynamic within the supply chain, especially considering the market power held by packers.
This study fills existing knowledge gaps and provides valuable insights for beef supply chain stakeholders. It organizes complex data into clear, communicable causal loop diagrams and then introduces a comprehensive U.S. beef supply stock-and-flow diagram, grounded in literature, data, and trends. Finally, by synthesizing complex data and providing practical tools for decision-making, this research offers a foundation for future studies and policy recommendations in the field of supply chain transparency.
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Agricultural Economics
- West Lafayette