Jan 18, 2021Fusionware ‘no-touch’ system addresses COVID-19 challenges
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is the kind of “black swan” event that is disrupting countless aspects of business and life around the world, and the produce supply chain is not exempt.
According to a news release, the Fusionware team wanted to find a way to limit person-to-person contact to prevent the virus from spreading.
That meant changes to how members of the produce supply chain document all production, processing and distribution steps to facilitate full traceability while maintaining COVID-19-compliant touchless solutions.
The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act has been implemented to verify electronic signatures for interstate commerce since 2000. But in most systems, a physical signature is still required, often drawn with the finger or a stylus on a tablet or smartphone. As a way to prevent potential spread of COVID-19, Fusionware has made it possible to eliminate that kind of physical touch altogether.
A no-touch system to solve the problem for the produce supply chain
“A lot of companies have everything running through a mobile device, and in order for the system to work at a place like a shipping office, every truck driver has to touch the pen or screen to sign for that load. But with COVID-19, we can’t do that,” said Fusionware President and CEO Creg Fielding. “Fusionware was faced with creating a 100% real-time e-signature system that would maintain the necessary health and safety standards but still provides full traceability.”
How touchless e-signatures work
The touchless technology enables a user to transfer ownership to the next member of the supply chain via a text exchange that facilitates electronic signature verification on each individual’s own mobile device. The process is permission-based; no data is shared from the Fusionware system unless the individual user allows it.
Optimized for mobile, the system gives users the ability to sign remotely from anywhere, making it more convenient for Fusionware customers in streamlining personal touchpoints in the supply chain without physical contact.
Post-COVID-19 system utility
The touchless e-signature technology will stretch well beyond the pandemic and will facilitate more efficient transfer and verification of ownership, Fielding said. Ultimately, the new utility will help improve produce quality for the consumer.
“The COVID-19 pandemic caused us to think outside the box and develop a better way to handle this step safely and securely. At the end of the day, it is a way better process,” Fielding said. “We can ultimately use this technology to provide the necessary verification to streamline other steps in the supply chain like managing temperature for loads of produce in transit. It’s just one of many new value propositions this system is creating for our customers.”
Roots in innovation and service
Since its founding in 2016, Fusionware, the leading North American cloud-based produce supply chain solution, has been quietly providing its “SaaS” (software as a service)-based traceability solution to grow/pack/ship operations of all sizes. In doing so, the company has assembled a customer roster including some of the largest names and landowners in the produce industry.
“Fusionware was built using blockchain technology and links all business intelligence into one platform that tracks every supply chain touchpoint. Our technology has the power to revolutionize the industry,” Fielding said. “We can eliminate food waste, simplify traceability, promote sustainability, mitigate risk and make a positive impact on the planet and profitability of our customers. Fusionware is the platform to do all of that, now and well into the future.”
A growing sector of ag technology
With its recent acquisition by AgTech.io, LLC, owned and managed by Grimes, Iowa-based C9 Capital, LLC, Fusionware is poised to deliver its traceability platform solutions to a new broader range of stakeholders in the produce industry. Smaller companies now have the ability to sell into major retailers, satisfy all the regulatory requirements and will be able to thrive in the global produce marketplace.
“Fusionware is an exciting acquisition as we continue to grow our AgTech portfolio,” stated Ryan Barton, Managing Director of C9 Capital. “As the nation continues to work through the impacts of COVID-19, consumer awareness of the food supply chain has grown immensely. Consumers want and need to know the origins of their food from farm to fork. Fusionware is the platform that facilitates necessary end-to-end traceability through the entire supply chain for growers and consumers alike.”
The Fusionware investment opens the door to expand supply chain traceability in other sectors of the global food economy, added Scott Mikkelsen, CEO and Managing Director at C9 Capital.
“Today, the AgTech space has massive growth potential, especially in the traceability space. The growth capital we are providing will allow Fusionware to expand into adjacent food markets including dairy, meat and seafood,” Mikkelsen said. “Working together, we will put this technology at the fingertips of people who can help sustain the world’s food supply chain.”
Fusionware is an end-to-end ‘cloud-based’ supply chain platform for growers in North America. In addition to providing an automated system to verify ownership transfer between buyers and sellers, the platform empowers the supply chain users by digitizing the entire value chain from farms to retailers, including processors, packers, distributors and wholesalers. Fusionware users can easily optimize operations, improve efficiencies and increase growth and profit potential.
C9 Capital Is a Midwest-based venture capital firm focused on acquisitions and early stage start-ups that have the potential for excellent growth and positive social impacts. C9 has portfolio holdings primarily focused in the AgTech, FinTech sectors and Digital Media sectors.