The current version of the RITM research program, which is primarily on transaction management, focuses on the economic discipline. An important point of departure for the program is the analysis of the WRR in the report 'The Netherlands as Trading Nation' of 2003. This report supports the hypothesis that the Netherlands has a competitive advantage in lowering transaction costs, depending on good knowledge of where and what is for sale in the world, and where those goods and services can be traded. In order to maintain this position in a globalizing world with increased use of ICT, a pro-active role of business and government is necessary. From that perspective the WRR report recommends, for instance, to better exploit the brand name of the Netherlands and to facilitate access to the Netherlands for foreign knowledge workers. In addition, the legal infrastructure should be well equipped for the role the Netherlands plays in the international world of trade and financial transactions.
Given the aim of the programme and following the recommendations in the WRR report a number of strategic analyses has been conducted. An early example is the analysis for IHC Holland Merwede of the future position in the international dredging cluster. A similar analysis from the perspective of transaction costs is also conducted for other companies in the manufacturing industry, which will play a pivotal role in orchestration of production. In construction it appears that such transition of main contractors to the orchestration function is still often underestimated. In addition, ample attention has been paid in the research to the relationship between transaction costs, innovation and productivity.
Transaction management at FloraHolland, the leading flower auction in the world
It appears that what is called ‘trade innovations”, ie innovations that reduce transaction costs, are just as important for productivity growth in the Netherlands as product and process innovations arising directly from investment in research and development (R & D). It has also been empirically established that cultural aspects and mutual trust are an important determinant of international trade. The trade flows grew faster between China and the Netherlands than between China and many other countries. This partly reflects the way how outsourcing to China is organised in the Netherlands. The country acts as the gateway to Europe for different product groups. Also, the role of trust offices in the Dutch financial world is studied. The competitiveness of this sector in the Netherlands is due to the reputation of reliability and integrity that must be strengthened. Another part of the programme looked at how transaction management can be seen as a complement to the existing management methodology of Lean management. The programme also shows that the orchestrating function, and thus transaction management. plays an increasingly important role in agriculture. More generally transaction management explains why, in world trade, there is a shift from trade in goods to trade in tasks. Another study of the programme looks at the relationship between procurement and transaction management. It is advocated that procurement should be an essential part of the strategic decisions of companies, because globalization and the worldwide reputation of global enterprises require that a proper assessment is made with respect to many forms of transaction costs related to corporate responsibility. Much research was also devoted to the reduction of transaction costs that can be achieved through standardization. These include the container and the barcode, but also uniform standards within the EU can reduce transaction costs and thus provide a competitive advantage.