Accounting and Finance Seminars: Jodie Moll
Dr Jodie Moll (University of Manchester)
G.15, 15-19 Tyndalls Park Road
Title: Waste, Taste and Accounting for New Product Development: A case study of a retail supply chain
The paper examines the role of accounting calculations in new product development when these processes take place in an inter-organizational setting. The empirical account had its origin in an open book arrangement, and it was in the process of calculating waste for a private label meat product line that the partnering organizations became sensitive to the level and nature of waste produced and the cost of that waste. It led them to imagine the many ways that they could transform that waste into a sellable by-product, thereby making the levels more tolerable and the partnership more profitable. In this paper, we examine the territorializing, mediating, adjudicating and subjectivising roles of such calculations. We focus on the waste calculations and how their performance helped to mediate complex discussions and decisions between the buyer and its suppliers and to set parameters regarding their roles in manufacturing the private label products and developing new products for that line. Our findings show that notions of products, by-products and waste were highly dependent on the image of the consumer and that the components of the waste calculations were able to be re-combined to account for those images. Notions of waste and its value were also dependent on the materiality of the product itself because in the process of cutting up an animal part of a valued product could be trimmed and discarded as waste. While new product introductions were the desired solution, in the short term the supply chain was unable to convert waste to a by-product in a cost effective manner. Instead, the partners had to settle for making waste levels more tolerable by reconfiguring and updating the existing operational processes.