85869 - Value Chain Management

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course provides knowledge about the concept and functioning of a value chain in the agro-food industry: which elements constitute it, the factors influencing a value chain, the theoretical approach and the tools for analysis and management. At the end of the course students know the actors of the agro-food system, the activities they carry out in the value chain and the relationships existing between them, the criteria for analysing its structure and are able to use basic tools for the analysis of the value chain and its sustainable management.

Course contents

The student acquires the ability to understand the structure and mechanisms regulating the food value chain.

Unit 1: Introduction to the course: objectives - structure - materials evaluation. Theoretical aspects and definitions: Supply Chain, Value Chain, Logistics, Demand Networks, and Value Chain Management. (4 hours)

Unit 2: Delivering customer value: customer service and customer retention. Distribution channels and value delivery systems. Measuring logistics costs and performance. COst drivers and activity-based costing. Matching supply and demand. The Japanese approach and the agile supply chain. (16 hours)

Unit 3: The food systems and related value chain analysis tools (8 hours)

  • Supply chain coordination
  • Transaction costs
  • Collaboration, trust commitment
  • Supply chain governance models
  • Performance indicators

Unit 4: the food value chain. Food production, Food manufacturing, Food retailing, Food logistics (4 hours)

Unit 5: Challenges in international food supply chains, Collaboration and relationships, Food sourcing and procurement, Risk management, Technology trends in food supply chains (12 hours)

Unit 6: Sustainability and future challenges, Food regulation, safety and quality, Food innovation, Sustainability challenges in food supply chains, Food security. Creating a sustainable supply chain, the triple bottom line. Waste in the supply chain. (8 hours)

Unit 7: Project work: Project proposal design, Literature review, Value chain analysis practice (12 hours).



Martin Christopher (2016) Logistics & Supply Chain Management, 5th Edition, Pearson. [Link]

Pullman, M., & Wu, Z. (2021). Food Supply Chain Management: Building a Sustainable Future (2nd ed.). Routledge. [https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429329883]


Gereffi & Fernandez-Stark (2016) Global Value Chain Analysis: A Primer, 2nd Edition, Technical Report · July 2016 [https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305719326_Global_Value_Chain_Analysis_A_Primer_2nd_Edition ]

Jodie Keane (2008) A ‘new’ approach to global value chain analysis, Oversear Development Institute, Working paper 293, [https://odi.org/en/publications/a-new-approach-to-global-value-chain-analysis/]

Samir Dani (2021) Food Supply Chain Management and Logistics, KoganPage, [https://www.koganpage.com/product/food-supply-chain-management-and-logistics-9781398600126 ]


Teaching methods

The course is based on a limited number of face-to-face lectures, complemented by assignments, readings, and practical training.

The class activity is split into content units. For some units, the theoretical and practical sessions will be integrated into the same lesson.

Students are invited to propose a mandatory individual project work, aimed at preparing the analysis of a value chain that will be presented and discussed in the class for a first feedback and then during the exam. The report length should be in the range of 30-60 thousand characters, and its discussion will be the basis of the oral exam.

A voluntary self-evaluation test will be proposed at the end of the course and before the last lecture to let the student identify possible topics where performance needs to be improved.

Assessment methods

Oral exam, approximate duration of 30 minutes. The exam consists of questions focused on the project work presented by the student, covering the topics dealt with during the lectures.

The oral exam will start with the presentation of the individual short paper developed during the lectures submitted at least three days in advance using the Edmodo platform.

The short paper may be one of these types:

- literature review on a specific topic in value chain management

- value chain analysis of a specific product (either in a single business or global perspective)

- research proposal for a value chain study

The questions on the short paper will cover the three main course areas: theoretical aspects of the value chain (1/3), value chain analysis tools (1/3), value chain management issues (1/3).

Students who attended at least 70% of the lectures will have the possibility to make an online test as a replacement of two questions in the oral exam. The results of the online test will be converted to a grade using a conversion curve based on general test performance. The student can decide to discard the online test results and make the full oral exam.

Teaching tools

Teaching materials (slides, scientific articles, and grey literature) made available online.
Edmodo teaching and social network platform used to communicate notices, assignments, exchange materials and comments.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Maurizio Canavari

See the website of Luca Mulazzani