Background to the Theme of the Conference

Efficiency is the concept that is currently on everyone’s lips. Wherever experts scrutinise production or service processes, business management teams or industrial sectors, inadequate efficiency is often part of the diagnosis, and an improvement in efficiency is called for. In a nutshell, the aim is to make more from less money, time and resources.
There are many theories and schools of thought on the best way of analysing processes and initiating improvement measures. Courses are attended, and structures and processes are in some cases drastically rejigged as a result: often with considerable success, but occasionally not. Just as in other domains, the efficiency ques¬tion is posed in the agri-food sector. Here too, the issue of efficiency is the focus of farm management, and is thus a core theme of farm advisory work.
We, the 54th IALB Conference preparation team, wonder whether the theories and practices for improving efficiency that are known to us from science are directly applicable to the agricultural sector and to activities in rural areas. We have therefore made “efficiency” the main theme of the 54th IALB Conference. Together, we examine two tracks, and take a critical look at when changes bring a genuine additional benefit (reality) and when we are merely deluding ourselves (appearance):

  • Are the efficiency-improvement theories known to us from industry and the service sector also applicable to agricultural and domestic activities, and to rural business¬es in general? What role do the specific framework conditions of nature, annual cycles and family play in this context?

  • What are our thoughts on efficiency in our own sectors, i. e. extension and advisory services? Can more be made from less here too?

“City of culture” Solothurn and its attractive surroundings offer a highly suitable frame¬work for exploring this challenging issue. Solothurn promises to tick all the boxes as a conference venue: moreover, this will be the first time that the town is hosting the IALB Conference.