7th International Conference on Management in Agrifood Chains and Networks (ChainConference)

Venue: De Reehorst

Location: Ede, Netherlands

Event Date/Time: May 31, 2006 End Date/Time: Jun 02, 2006
Registration Date: May 31, 2006
Early Registration Date: Apr 01, 2006
Abstract Submission Date: Oct 15, 2006
Paper Submission Date: Dec 31, 2005
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Seventh International Conference

Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR) will organize the seventh edition of the International Conference on Management in AgriFood Chains and Network. The conference will be held on 31 May - 2 June, 2006, and the venue will be Ede, The Netherlands.

Wageningen UR invites teachers, researchers, managers, policy makers and students interested in the management of agrifood chains and networks to present and discuss the most recent advances in theory and practice.

International Chains and Networks

The main theme of the conference will be International Chains and Networks. As part of the globalization of the economy, agricultural and food products are shipped all around the world. Companies are internationalizing by increasingly exporting their products, by setting up foreign subsidiaries, or taking over foreign competitors. Globalization changes the scope of competition, to which firms respond by growth, strengthening innovation, improving logistic efficiency, and strategic collaboration.

While internationalization opens new opportunities for firms and increases consumer choice, it also brings a number of challenges for the manager. First, international trade in agricultural and food products leads to increasing pressure on the natural environment and more risks of spreading diseases. Second, managers have to deal with different legal regimes, which are often not harmonized. Companies setting up international supply chains are faced with various regulatory systems they have to comply with. Third, international business means dealing with different institutional environments, such as a different business cultures, and different norms and values.

These challenges call for increasing collaboration in chains and networks. By setting up tightly coordinated supply chains firms can economize on logistic costs, improve information exchange, and provide safety and quality guarantees. Enhancing product innovation calls for cooperation in networks consisting of companies with complementary knowledge and skills.

Under the main theme, International Chains and Networks, several subthemes will be covered by the conference:


Producer-owned cooperatives play a major role in agrifood chains and networks all around the world. Cooperatives, by their very nature are a network of firms, as independent producer firms collectively own the cooperative firm. In recent decades, many cooperatives have developed into manufacturers of strong consumer products. However, aligning consumer demands and producer interests continues to be one of the main challenges for producer-owned firms.

Innovation is a key success factor. Innovation requires close collaboration with other companies, either to share the costs and risks, or to combine complementary expertise. Firms may collaborate in formal structures, for instance in setting up a joint venture to develop new products, or they may collaborate in informal structures, such as in communities of practice and study groups.

Supply Chain Management

Firms increasingly collaborate with suppliers and customers to improve logistic efficiency, to be able to guarantee product safety, and to set up tracking and tracing systems. Internal and external information systems support companies in collecting and storing information on products, processes, partners, and markets.

Organization and Orchestration

Firms are seeking new organizational structures (e.g. governance structures) for embedding their collaborative activities. These structures may be formal, as is the case in minority or majority equity participation, or may be informal, by using reputation and other social mechanisms to obtain motivation and coordination. Third parties play a major role as knowledge brokers, by bringing together (public and private) actors from different backgrounds, and connecting firms and public and private research institutes.

Safety and Quality

Guaranteeing food safety and quality is one of the main goals of firms collaborating in chains and networks. Motivated by consumer demand and tightening legislation, companies are applying systems of tracking and tracing, seeking trustworthy partners, and reinforcing the information flows. Product safety and quality can be better guaranteed when firms enhance their bilateral and multilateral information exchange, both through formal and informal initiatives.

Sustainability of chains and networks

Improving the sustainability of commercial activities often requires strengthening collaboration in chains and networks. Sustainability refers to ecological, economic and social demands. Private and public actors together face the challenge of achieving a transition towards a sustainable agrifood industry.


De Reehorst
Bennekomseweg 24

Additional Information

Call for papers Two types of paper can be submitted and presented: scientific papers and business papers. Academic researchers are invited to submit a scientific paper, while participants from industry are invited to submit business papers. Both groups can submit proposals for a panel discussion. Papers and panels should cover one of the above mentioned (sub)themes. Potential authors should submit by e-mail an abstract of between 1000 and 1200 words (two pages A4), in English, for a scientific paper, a business paper, or a proposal for a panel discussion. Criteria for acceptance of scientific papers are relevance of the issue(s) addressed, clearly stated purpose, methods used, main findings, and conclusions. Criteria for acceptance of business papers are practical relevance and clarity of the exposé. Panel proposals should contain a summary of the topic and include the names and affiliations of panelists who have agreed to participate, and a description of how the panel will be structured. All submissions should include a separate title page with each author's full name, affiliati¬on, complete address, telephone, fax number and E-mail address. Three keywords characterizing the paper should also be part of the abstract. All abstracts will be blind-reviewed by at least two members of the Program Committee. The full papers will be reviewed again. Accepted papers will be published in the refereed Conference proceedings to be distributed at the beginning of the Conference. The material submitted must be original and must not have been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. The best scientific papers will be selected for publication in the Journal on Chain and Network Science. Correspondence All correspondence should be sent to the Conference Secretariat: Department of Business Administration (77) Wageningen University Hollandseweg 1 6706 KN Wageningen The Netherlands E-mail: chainconference@wur.nl Website: www.chainconference.wur.nl