Supply chain innovation

Smallholder-inclusive value chains, agro-food systems, achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), local food systems.

Supply chains are the linked processes in the production of goods as services involving all stages of production, processing, trading, distribution, and consumption. These supply chains are responsible for providing essential products and underpin value-creation. Across the world supply chains are evolving to become more complex, more distributed, and less local. These changes have resulted in a massive increase in choice, reductions in the prices, and increased convenience.


Despite the benefits these changes bring, there are growing concerns that they also expose supply chains to high levels of risks associated with disruptions, and the emergence of institutions and market structures that undermine competition and innovation and contribute to (or fail to address) social objectives.

At Heuris it is our objective to support inclusivity and sustainability within supply chains, whilst also seeking to provide value generation. We underpin all our supply chain analysis using strong theoretical concepts to reduce the dimensions of complex supply chain interactions and trade-offs to the core problems and opportunities that need addressing. We have introduced concepts such as systems thinking and knowledge frameworks to provide unique and meaningful insights into policies, interventions, and the governance of supply chains. We also have a strong working knowledge of the constraints and opportunities facing supply chains, including the development and operation of coffee supply chains in Uganda.

Our conceptual development of smallholder-inclusive supply chain systems has identified the core factors required to achieve sustainable development outcomes via supply chain and value chain interventions. These core factors involve a movement away from ‘relationship trade’, contract farming, and other recent approaches that have been shown to typically involve no economic value for the vast majority of target beneficiaries, and often actually generate negative impacts on them. Using the conceptualisation of these systems as involving three core, but competing, objectives we have designed innovations that achieve all three simultaneously where other programs often can only achieve one core objective. We have applied these concepts to real-world supply chain interventions that show substantial benefit to target beneficiaries along with being highly efficient (economically competitive) and scalable (can be scaled to a national level).