Full Traceability in the COMPLETE Supply chain
Consumers are increasingly seeking access to real-time, trustworthy information about where in the world a product comes from, whether it was raised in a sustainable fashion, whether it is safe to eat or use, etc.
Industry stakeholders are beginning to realize that such consumer access can positively affect their bottom line profits.
Right now the FDA requires, and most industries practice, “one up, one down” – each business knows a little information about who they bought items from and to whom they sold it. A grain elevator, for example, knows the truck the grain came in on, and the barge where it left, but usually not more than that.
Internationally, the technology to trace products is the same, but the supply chains are very different – and so there are different incentives and challenges in tracing the information.
For example, the beef industry is a fragmented supply chain in which the product goes through many hands and changes form many times. That is because beef, like practically any other product, is part of a fragmented global supply chain. It’s not just the supply chains that are fragmented, the service providers along the supply chains are also highly fragmented. Fragmentation of any kind increases costs. Those can be the costs of bringing a product to market, but they can also be the cost of omitted or missing information which is lost to the frictions of one-up/one-down information sharing.
Information producers like the rancher could track and control who accesses the information and who sees it. So the rancher could see the winding pathway of an animal sold a dozen times and could see the complete trace report. Food recall agencies could additionally be provided granular access – with permission of the information producer – to food safety data.
That does not happen today. This is a new kind of information sharing that increases the choices for transparency in supply chains. It recognizes that the rancher is not just producing a calf, the rancher is also producing information that itself has value. That is why we belief that meat packers may be willing to pay more for animals whose source or immunization history is identified. This can be extended to other industries as well like pharmaceutical industry ….
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