Terms of reference – Consultant – Predictability research

The Alliance is looking for a consultant to conduct mixed-methods research into impacts and drivers of trade facilitation on predictability.

Terms of reference – Consultant – Predictability research

Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation/ World Economic Forum

1. Background

The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation is a public-private partnership for trade-led growth, supporting governments in developing and least-developed countries in implementing the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. Alliance projects cut through red tape and end costly delays at borders by bringing together governments and businesses of all sizes as equal partners to deliver targeted trade reforms.

By emphasising digitalisation and delivering other best practices, Alliance projects enable businesses to trade more easily thanks to streamlined and more predictable processes. Governments save time and resources by modernising trade procedures while still safeguarding their borders. Ultimately, Alliance projects boost trade competitiveness and business conditions, which are key drivers of inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.

The Alliance is led by the Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the World Economic Forum, in cooperation with Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). It is funded by the governments of the United States, Canada, Germany, and Denmark. The Alliance works with private sector partners from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the world’s largest multinationals such as DHL, FCA Group, Maersk, UPS and Walmart.

2. Assignment background and overview

Predictable, reliable supply chains are central to strong economic performance and of major importance to Alliance public and private sector partners. Using the unique Total Transit and Logistics Cost methodology, the Alliance measures its impact through calculating the direct and indirect time and cost savings for business and government that result from a trade facilitation initiative. Yet Alliance projects also address the causes of unexpected delays — including unpredictability in clearance, inland transit, and service reliability. Hence the Alliance is uniquely placed to explore the connection between trade facilitation and business predictability.

The Alliance is seeking to conduct mixed-methods research into impacts and drivers of trade facilitation on predictability. The research will include a literature review, qualitative and quantitative data collection, and qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data collected from business. The research will also include a case study into a specific Alliance project to measure the extent to which it has delivered increased predictability and what that means for business. The case study is expected to develop a toolkit to integrate the quantitative measurement of predictability in Alliance projects in a standardized format.

The study will answer the following research questions:

  1. What is the effect of unpredictable trade processes on business in terms of costs and competitiveness?
  2. How do businesses mitigate the risk of this unpredictability, and what does that mean for them in terms of costs and competitiveness?
  3. How has an Alliance trade facilitation project improved predictability, and what effect has this had on businesses?
  4. How can the Alliance routinely measure predictability across our projects?

3. Tasks of the Consultant

The selected candidate(s) will help the Alliance deliver the research in 4 phases, with every phase building from the one before:

Phase 1 – Inception

  • Literature review: Review studies, reports and methodologies on international supply chain predictability and trade facilitation
  • Produce definition of predictability for Alliance projects
  • Output: inception report

Phase 2 – Primary qualitative data gathering and analysis

  • Development of qualitative data collection tools (interview protocols, etc.)
  • Interviews and survey with trade and supply chain professionals (primarily businesses)
  • Analysis of data
  • Output: Work with the Alliance team to build findings into a final paper for external publication (Knowledge paper 1 of a 2-part product)

Phase 3 – Development of the predictability measurement methodology*

  • Review documents for the selected Alliance project for the case study
  • Output: Develop the model and measurement tools to measure predictability– surveys, interviews, indicators, and other data collection methods in partnership with the Alliance measurement teams

Phase 4 – Primary quantitative data gathering and analysis

  • Roll out methodology, including:
    •  Piloting tools and methodology before full rollout (as needed)
    • Implementation of methodology with all identified stakeholders (including MSMEs and women-owned businesses)
    • Data collection and analysis – baseline and endline
  • Output: Work with the Alliance team to build findings into a final paper for external publication (Knowledge paper 2 of a 2-part product – case study)
  • Output: Build guidelines and recommendations for predictability measurement across Alliance projects.

*The methodology will be grounded in quantitative analysis, with the consultant responsible for developing a model that integrates all relevant factors that determine predictability in the project. This in turn will be aided by qualitative data collected through interviews and surveys. The methodology will serve as a basis to develop guidelines for predictability measurement for other Alliance projects.

4. Expected outputs

  1. Inception report: including literature review, definition of predictability, refinement of research questions, and methodology suggestion for both qualitative and quantitative data collection for phase 2 and 3 (including measurement/data tools to measure predictability). Phase 1 output.
  2. Knowledge Paper Part 1: Review qualitative literature, analysis and findings into trade facilitation and supply chain predictability (research questions 1 & 2). Phase 2 output.
  3. Predictability measurement methodology. Phase 3 output.
  4. Guidelines for predictability measurement across other Alliance projects (suggested methodology adaptation). Phase 4 output.
  5. Knowledge Paper Part 2 (case study): Review the methodology and the case study findings (research questions 3 & 4). Phase 4 output.

5. Key stakeholders

The consultant will work with the following functions to deliver the scope of work:

  • Alliance Monitoring and Evaluation – Research lead
  • Alliance Knowledge and Best Practices – Research and writing lead
  • Alliance Measurement and Benchmarking – Support for quantitative data collection
  • Project Officers – Support with case study and in-country data collection
  • Alliance Private Sector Partners – Ad hoc support (and qualitative data collection)

6. Deliverables and timeline

The consultancy is home-based and will be conducted between November 2021 and March 2023 (expected). The key deliverables and timelines for this assignment are:

Key deliverables Due date Payment Schedule
Inception report December 15 2022 10% upon submission
Initial draft of Knowledge Paper Part 1 March 30 2022
Final draft of Knowledge Paper Part 1 April 15 2022 20% upon submission
Predictability measurement methodology March 30 2022 20% upon submission
Methodology Implementation: data collection and analysis of the data by project end date (planned end 2022) 20% upon finalization
Guidelines to measure predictability by project end date (planned end 2022) 10% upon submission
Initial draft of Knowledge Paper Part 2 After project completion (Q1 2023)
Final draft of Knowledge Paper Part 2 After project completion (Q1 2023) 20% upon submission

The consultant will need to present the key deliverables to the Alliance measurement team and the advisory group as well as integrate comments and revisions from these groups into the documents. The consultant will need to be available for weekly meeting with the Alliance team to assess progress, support decision making, and plan next steps.

7. Requirements and experience

The candidate(s) should demonstrate the following qualifications as an individual or as a team.

Necessary qualifications:

  • Minimum of 10 years of experience conducting research in supply chains, particularly with a focus on researching predictability and reliability with diverse transportation methods across borders.
  • Extensive experience with building methodologies and tools to measure business predictability and understanding of predictability drivers.
  • Demonstrated command of Microsoft packages (MS Word, MS Excel, MS Access), statistical analysis software (e.g., STATA, SPSS) and other qualitative data software (INVIVO, Qualtrics) is required.
  • Experience in quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research
  • Fluency in spoken and written English.
  • Attention to detail, superior organisation skills and ability to operate within tight deadlines.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Strong teamwork skills and ability to work across geographies and cultures.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Familiarity and understanding of the trade facilitation landscape including types of trade facilitation interventions.
  • Fluency in spoken and written Spanish.
  • Masters and/or PhD in business, supply chain, economics or related field.

8. Application requirements

Candidates are requested to submit the following by October 23, 2021 to macarena.torresrossel@weforum.org and candice.white@weforum.org

  1. Curriculum Vitae (CVs) and/or company profile detailing previous experience as it relates to this consultancy.
  2. One research report showcasing research and analysis related to supply chain and/or predictability
  3. Financial Proposal (in USD)