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Abstract

The mutual interest of industry and government to improve the competitiveness of agri-food industries presents an information management challenge for leaders and policy makers. The paper examines the case for a template for benchmarking economic, environmental and social indicators along agri-food chains as an aid to strategic planning and policy. Porter’s competitiveness ‘diamond’ is the structural framework for identifying relevant indicators. The paper identifies desirable features for the template, including: a mix of lagged or outcome measures and lead indicators or drivers; a mix of quantitative and qualitative indicators; bias to graphical illustration of trends and interpretation oriented to planning and policy issues and implications. The paper identifies benchmarking of best practice firm and chain case studies against industry survey data as the micro-macro linkage critical to appreciation of industry competitiveness. Some dairy industry indicators and data are used to illustrate the scope, content and style of a competitiveness template to meet the needs of the target clientele.

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