Information standards company GS1 US announced today the completion of a proof-of-concept in which multiple traceability systems successfully interoperated when following a product through a supply chain. This first part of a multi-phase trial included blockchain, cloud and other technologies from FoodLogiQ, IBM Food Trust, ripe.io and SAP.
GS1 is a non-profit that creates global unique numbering and identification systems, barcodes, Electronic Product Code-based RFID and more for supply chains. Using the GS1 standard, FoodLogiQ, IBM Food Trust, ripe.io and SAP simulated a seafood supply chain and shared data with one another. According to the press announcement, the group was able to communicate with one another about critical events in the supply chain such as when a product was shipped, received, packed or transformed.
In a FoodLogiQ blog post, FoodLogiQ CEO, Sean O’Leary said, “The adoption of traceability in the food industry is reaching a tipping point. With the successful completion of this proof-of-concept, we have demonstrated that regardless of the underlying technology being used to house the data, whether blockchain or other enterprise database technologies, food companies will be able to connect their systems to achieve the holy grail of whole chain traceability.”
In a nutshell, food traceability won’t be locked into or reliant on one particular technology. Different systems in the supply chain will be able to talk with one another to provide insights and verification as a product moves throughout the supply chain.
Now the coalition of companies is moving on the next proof-of-concept phase, which is adding suppliers, distributors, retailers and foodservice operators to see how it will work in a real-world setting. After the proof-of-concept phase is complete, the next step will be to understand data requirements and see if any new protocols are required for interoperability.
The global COVID-19 pandemic highlighted shortcomings and faults in our existing food supply chain. Successful demonstrations of technology interoperability like the one announced today can help create a more robust, transparent and hopefully resilient supply chain going forward.