Supply Chain Standards in the Blockchain With Melanie Nuce

NTE 64 | Working With A Blockchain

 

A supply chain can be difficult to work with when there’s so much information being withheld that could potentially make things run smoother. Fortunately, working with blockchains has made it much easier for that same information to reach you in a timely manner, allowing you to work much more effectively. Monika Proffitt and Tracy Hazzard are joined by Melanie Nuce. Melanie is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at GS1 US where she leads a team that investigates new technologies, partnerships and business opportunities to increase the relevance and reach of GS1 Standards. Drawing on her experience working with blockchains in the company, Melanie shares what makes blockchains so important to industries today.

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Supply Chain Standards in the Blockchain With Melanie Nuce

I’m interested to talk some deeper and deeper into digital verification, supply chain technologies and different things that we are doing in the blockchain around the world and specifically here in the US to be able to look at how these technologies are going to be trustworthy and how they’re going to tell us what we want to know. That’s something valid, that’s something real, that we know where it came from, that we know that it’s good quality. All of those things intrigue me. I was very excited when Melanie Nuce was presented to me as a potential guest for this show. She is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at GS1 US. GS1 is one of the major companies that do standards across multiple industries, not including technologies like blockchain.

She leads a team that investigates new technologies, partnerships and business opportunities to increase the relevance and reach of the GS1 standards. They are the most widely-used supply chain standards in the world. I’m very familiar with them for my work and product. I’m interested to hear what they’re going to be doing in technology. I’m looking forward to our discussion. Melanie oversees the exploration of collaboration opportunities to help businesses leverage emerging technologies including the Internet of Things, blockchain and machine learning. Melanie has more than twenty years of retail supply chain experience focusing in years on retail industry collaboration to improve inventory accuracy, exchanging standardized product data and achieving source to store supply chain visibility.

Melanie, I’m so glad you’re coming on the show because this is something that ties so well into my background in product development for 27 years. This is the hardest part of designing and developing products. Bringing any product to market is that wanting to make sure that you trust all the data that comes through your supply chain, that trusts where the products come from, that they are what they say they’re going to be. When you put your brand forward into the world, you feel confident in that. There’s as big a problem on that side as there is from a consumer side looking at it going, “Do I trust this?” There’s a lot of mistrust in this whole process. Tell us a little bit more about GS1 because most of our readers probably aren’t familiar with that and why blockchain?

GS1 has some pretty humble but very auspicious beginnings because the UPC bar code was where it all started. People probably didn’t get it at the time, but the number of errors that were happening at the point of sale with manually keying in price information and that simple way back when, before we used to call it Cloud, when it was a Cloud, storage was expensive. You are keeping price information and things in these third-party provider networks that are now ubiquitously known as Cloud.

We morphed from there. It was always around unique identity, interoperable and globally understood. When you scan the barcode of a bag of potato chips all over the world, that’s a bag of potato chips. When you scan a bottle of soda, you know that’s different. It’s funny with self-checkout, people now they do this all the time. When you say, “You realize each of those identifiers are unique. I never thought about it.” If every barcode were the same, we’d have no price accuracy. As we started out with that point of sale use case, it quickly became apparent that capturing information about products, putting that in a machine-readable format like a barcode or we now have standards around RFID as well.

Sharing that information with your trading partners to ensure efficiency, cost reduction, revenue growth. Even increasingly within the past few years, transparency and delight for a consumer or patient safety, those have all been woven into the key reasons we exist. As a not for profit, I like being in this space because people don’t feel threatened by. Standards are about creating a level playing field upon which companies can compete. We get the unique opportunity to listen to executives talk about their supply chain challenges from both sides of the aisle and come up with a way that will allow them to get ubiquitous adoption but deliver that to a suite of technology partners that are going to layer the value on top. I always like to say standards are only as good as the technology that enables them. That was why three years ago blockchain came across our desk. People kept saying blockchain is going to replace electronic data interchange.

If you’ve ever heard the term EDI, maybe hear that Electronic Data Interchange, it was a very big catchphrase when it first came out. Mainly, we heard a lot in conjunction with Walmart way back when because they were the best at it. That’s exactly the same reason why I became intrigued by blockchain. I was skeptical about blockchain because you hear the connection between blockchain and cryptocurrency. That’s the way we hear it all the time. Someone asked me to cover a conference on blockchain and cryptocurrency and I said, “Why would I want to do that?” They said, “You can interview Steve Wozniak while you’re there.” I said, “I’ll go.” Over the course of the three days before I met Steve Wozniak, I’m like, “There’s something here. Do they even understand what this could do for our product development business? Do they even understand what this could do for the quality of products?” All I kept thinking was there’s something missing. They’re not talking about here. I sat in my first session that talked about it with food safety. I thought, “Somebody’s getting it.”

To your point, it goes back to what you were saying at the beginning around trust and what I heard the very first use cases we were looking at with industry were around food, around trace back particularly. At the time, they were intrigued by two benefits. One was it’s a real-time conversation about a specific product whereas EDI is very batch-oriented. I put a bunch of purchase orders together and I pipe them off to you. Blockchain was implying that things were happening at the level of the event. This is packaged. This is shipped. It’s received. I’ve put it on a shelf. The other thing where I think EDI was losing its appeal was it was very linear. The retailer sends information to the supplier, the supplier sends it to the shipper, the shipper sends it to the retailer and there wasn’t a group conversation. People are very intrigued by the idea that blockchain was going to allow multiple parties to be involved in everything that was happening with the products altogether.

Sharing information with your trading partners ensures efficiency, cost reduction, and revenue growth. Click To Tweet

There was a lot of resistance, especially through the EDI process or through the Electronic Data Interchange when you batch things. It means that you have to sit there and scan everything in. You have to send your report onto the next level. When you’re talking about the speed of production or low-cost goods, it seemed cumbersome. You knew in the process somehow they were cheating the system and sending a report. I’ve been to the factories before. I know that’s what happens. They get rushed. They got to get enough product out before Chinese New Year and they don’t care. You end up with a report. On the other end, you’re going, “That’s not what we received. What’s missing here? What happened?” It’s supposed to be infallible because it’s digital, you’re scanning it, but they aren’t scanning it. That’s the difference between blockchain because there’s more of an irrefutable, this has to go through the process, but it also doesn’t have to encumber the process.

It’s so funny because we always like to say garbage in, garbage out faster with technology. I heard somebody say garbage in garbage forever if you do it wrong on the blockchain. It’s one of the things we taught industry early on. If you’re looking at blockchain as a way to enable traceability, beware. Immutability is a gift and a curse. While it makes corrections very transparent, it’s not that you can’t amend a transaction but certainly, you’ve now made written in permanent ink when you’ve made a mistake. To your point, writing the report and the ensuing disputes that would happen as a partner would be trying to reconcile, you’re committing to being real at what you’re putting out there.

Melanie, thinking about much of the garbage in the idea of what you were talking about, this is where we get concerned. I, over the years, have seen that you get test reports that say this has passed UL. This has gone through BIFMA, which is a furniture standard and all of those things. It turns to find out that it didn’t. It wasn’t the right product tested or it was what we call a golden sample. It was a perfect sample that was made, not like it would be made in production. All of that is something that I think about because that goes into a permanent system that says, “This is the standards that this product has met.” When you test against that in the future and all of a sudden you find failure in the process, you think, “I have a flaw in my product, what’s going on?” The reality was it never met it. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve found that to be the case. It’s so important to get through these, especially when we have something that’s a high liability or high risk where someone could seriously get hurt.

I love that you bring this up because this is where blockchain morphed. I remember talking to a professor from the University of Arkansas and she was saying crypto was blockchain 1.0. Our original exploration into traceability was probably blockchain 2.0 and where we’re going to land is 3.0 or beyond. The most interesting thing about blockchain, because you can get very tripped up on how much data goes on the chain. Everybody’s like, “We’re just going to throw all the data.” To your point, crypto scales because the transactions are very small and they’re high volume, but in a supply chain when you’re moving thousands or millions of products and you want to uniquely identify each one and then talk it on a ledger, you’re going to start impacting production or distribution incredibly.

That’s the whole notion of certifications and being able to say that the certificate authority who stands behind that non-GMO project certification or USDA organic or to your point UL, fair labor, fair trade cotton, all of these things. When you start looking at what’s happening in the space around decentralized identifiers and verifiable credentials and the ability of a company whose job is to credential that 1 or 2 specific things. Tying that to a ledger that’s linked to the identity of that product and now becomes part of its permanent record, you start to move away from that. Someone had once told me that 46% of the produce grown in the US is organic, but we consume 68% of organic food because we’re making false claims. Going back to the trust as an anchor of what we’re trying to get to here. This is a way to get all the parties who have the provable to say to contribute that to the ledger and create that reputation for the product.

I don’t know if it’s a TV show or some streaming series, but it’s a streaming series on product quality and other things. They have two episodes so far, one on beauty products, which is super scary in terms of its quality control and one on furniture, which I know extremely well because I’ve worked in furniture for almost my entire career. It talks about furniture safety and other things like that. That dresser is tipping over, the TV stand is tipping over. These are serious things that happened. There are tests involved in all of those. Here’s the thing that most people don’t understand. When you’re a brand, you want to do a good job. Your brand is out front. You want to make sure that quality is there, all of these things. You try to do that in the process, but you’re also not standing there with your product every moment along the way. Someone does something that’s untrustworthy and you can’t identify it. You get what is a very inexpensive dresser like something in Ikea under $100.

You don’t have the budget, the time, all of those things to go back and recheck everything in the process either. You get false certification reports. You get things that weren’t tested, but a report was submitted. You believe that your process is good until something occurs and something goes wrong. That’s when you start to find out. Sometimes it can be devastating, like kids got hurt. That’s where you sit along the way going, “I tried so hard to make a good brand, but I failed at it because of the process itself, I didn’t understand every little nuance and I couldn’t control it.”

You can’t control consumers. They’ll do crazy things with your stuff.

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Working With A Blockchain: In a supply chain, you want to be able to uniquely identify each product, and take it on a ledger.

 

They’ll do crazy things on that and that’s so true. You also can’t control every supplier along the way. We’ve seen things, where you had a flaw coming in from an incoming material that you could never have anticipated was going to have a problem or contamination or something like that. All of a sudden you say, “I’ve got to put controls in place at the incoming material level.” You learn stuff, but you learn stuff by failure in the product development process. A lot of times you can identify where that failure point happened.

I would say that even translates to what we’re doing with blockchain. We’ve been learning through some of the failures where original notions around blockchain, you think about consensus and that 51% rule that exists in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Could you afford a 51% consensus in a supply chain? No. The whole thing would grind to a halt. We’re always balancing performance. The other thing too is in an anonymous world like cryptocurrency, trust was never an issue. You didn’t trust it. You don’t know these people. You’re never going to meet them. You’re exchanging value.

In a supply chain, you’re not generally going into it completely blind. There are trust elements and how you back those up with certifications or assertions made on the blockchain. Also, I’m going to do business with you because I like what you offer. I like your terms. We’ve talked about production processes. We’ve developed some trust. This is why leveraging emerging tech like blockchain built on what we already have in place as good supply chain partners’ thing that we’re going to do some trusts as well. I wanted to piggyback on your comment around the unintended consequences.

One of the incredible things I’ve seen that I believe if we can get to Nirvana with blockchain and maybe I’ll be retired by then, one hopes. Like you, I remember when I was the youngest person in the room. My husband can’t stand it when we go out shopping because it’s always research. I’m always trying to see product packaging and identity. I’ve been in a grocery store where I’ve seen expired frozen pizzas in a freezer case because the expiration date on the pizza is human-readable. It’s not in a machine-readable way. You’re relying on labor, probably very low-cost labor in that store to go out, constantly scan yourselves and look for expired products. One, we talk about putting identity better-embedded right into the bar code on the product and leveraging the records that you’re going to build on this ledger to deliver on use cases like exploration or recall, but the converse of that is true. I went to buy a car seat for my on-his-way grandson. He was arriving soon and he needed a car seat. I went to a store to buy this and they would not sell it to me saying the product is in recall.

They caught it right at the point of sale. I love that. That’s like my favorite use case when I talked to people. Thinking about the fact that in the amount of time it might take you while you’re shopping for eggplant or something and you get up to scan it and they say, “We had a recall on this. You don’t want to buy it.” How wonderful is that as a consumer? You feel so taken care of.

The follow on to that is we have to empower associates to give you alternatives. This is the challenge of where technology meets humans. We say you can even instead of this product, what you want to be recommending is this other product. To your point now I feel safe, but I want to feel satisfied.

That’s the perfect use case that I look at when I think about product safety, about food safety and all of those things. I think about that as the speed of it saves lives. There’s no question about that because I’ve seen it go so very wrong on the other side. By the time they catch up, multiple children have died. We had this case where I came in to work for a company that did bean bags. Three children had died before they came to me. They came to me because they were losing $20 million of business every year now because no one wanted to buy their beanbags and no kidding. Now, you come to me to make them safer. Why didn’t you do it before? Thinking about how you can do these things, but the minute something goes wrong, that’s when you go, “I have an alert. I know what to do. We can take this down before it becomes a brand nightmare, before it comes to liability, before it becomes a disaster for more families too.” It’s thinking about that. I love that part of the blockchain. That’s what I’m excited about. There are some questions about how does this works? How does this digital verification build trust? It’s still possible that there’s fraud in the system as you put it garbage in. What are some of the things that one is putting in place to standardize that to make it clearer?

As much as I love the UPC and I like to joke that it outlasted the floppy disk in terms of a 45-year legacy as a technology, in the US, it’s a twelve-digit number embedded in a barcode and outside the US it’s a thirteen-digit number. It says you look me up, my price is X, I go beep. Every bag of regular-flavored potato chips of brand X has that same number. Where we’re moving, you look at blockchain, but let’s talk about the emergence of some other technologies like IoT where sensors can now be applied relatively inexpensively to all kinds of things. Furniture is a great example because it’s a higher margin product. That might be a good first foray.

How do you give a product life post-consumption? Click To Tweet

Cans of vegetables are not always good because it’s a low margin, but if you think instead of identifying this fifteen-ounce can of peas, I’m going to identify every fifteen-ounce can of peas uniquely. We call this standard GS1 Digital link. It’s about taking a serialized UPC. It’s making a separate one for each product and embedding that in a 2D barcode. Now, I can enable exactly what you’re talking about because unique identification of each thing, sitting on a shelf or in a department store on a rack allows me to count it better, more accurately and more often. It allows me to connect with the consumer on an individual basis, whether that’s for warranty and registration. To your point around safety, we talked a little bit about expert and recall. It also allows me to enrich the consumer’s experience in a phenomenal way. A couple of our critical a-ha moments around blockchain were first, have the data because if you don’t have data, you’re moving a lot of empty records fast and that won’t help. Two, you’re going to have to get more granular with identity.

It’s not like it’s not there in certain cases. We think about materials, there’s always color and lot numbers. The incoming material has that marked. Does it make its way into the final product? A lot of times, no, but it could. Now you have traced back all the way to the material source or different factories make different things. You have different facilities around the world especially in food products like beverages and other things. Even Starbucks cups, they’re all made more local to the Starbucks of their region. They’re not made in one source and shipped all over the world like people think that they are.

You have differences in the manufacturability of each one of those and where they come from. What was that factory source? You have all of these different variables that are being tracked in some way, shape or form, but maybe it’s only on the carton and not on the inside of each of the products. That’s where getting granular as you put it is going to be very valuable because now you know exactly where that came from and you don’t have to do this deep investigation into it. You’ll be able to track it.

Using recall is a good example and a bad example. Recall for now is about wholesale pulling stuff off shelves. We’ve had some leafy green challenges in the past fifteen months and nobody can eat salad anymore.

I’m always like, “Is it safe to eat romaine now or not? I don’t know. I’m so confused.”

When we can start proving to consumers that we have the level of identity that we need to say this is the thing that we need to pull from the shelf but not this other thing. It’s going to be the chicken and the egg. We have to be able to prove it. Their confidence will build and the trust will grow. I look forward to a time when millions of dollars in sales aren’t lost or sections of industry like leafy green producers and all of the people involved in that supply chain.

We throw away so much product. Sometimes it can be from a minor quality flaw that you never hear about. That’s not even recalled. I have seen it done on furniture. I’ve seen furniture destroyed and it was something that could have been fixed, but it was cheaper to destroy it all than it was to go find the ones that had the flaw and fix it. That’s such a shame when we think about all those materials, all that wood or whatever it was that was lost in that process.

That also leads to the circular economy concepts we’re starting to see take root, which is how do I give this product a life post-consumption? To your point, maybe it’s before it ever started because we had a flaw, but let’s not waste all those materials. Let’s leverage the identity of what those materials were for some other purpose. When we talk about embedding that unique identifier with that product and letting it persist, I saw a video around how they’re trying to better automate recycling. As packaging comes into a recycling facility with an embedded identity that they can then link through the Cloud to what is the material composition of this product?

NTE 64 | Working With A Blockchain
Working With A Blockchain: You need to establish a level of identity to say, “This is the thing that we need to pull from the shelf, but not this other thing.”

 

Which type of plastic is it? If it’s an apparel product, is it cotton and spandex? Is it polyester? Being able to tell those things using machines is going to allow us to scale recyclability. It’s going to lead to some new business models for recycling companies, but it’s also going to help drive circularity that will lead to sustainability because we throw away so much. One of the challenges is I had a professor from MIT throw down the gauntlet at me a couple of years ago. I asked him, “What about persistent identity as a lead towards circular economy?” He says, “We don’t have a circular economy. We have a consumption economy.” It’s true. We’re almost trained to throw things away. “I don’t want this anymore. I’ll throw it away.”

Very early on in my career, I worked for Herman Miller and we had a cradle to grave model. We had to think about what it was going to happen at the end and we had to build it in and design it in from the beginning. It’s important to think about that. We were still always challenged by the idea of recycling is not there yet. Even though we know that this material is highly recyclable, there’s not an economy for it or there’s not a place to send it to. You’d have to separate the pieces. You’re always thinking about those things, but there wasn’t a good solution always. Getting to a place at which that is more automated, easier to find, you have different locations to send it to or whatever might be that’s going to be extremely viable in turning us into that circular economy. Right now, it’s so manual.

Distributed data is the foundation of that. It’s so many people contributing to the record of a product over time that I don’t know how you could do it without distributed data.

I also think consumers are getting into this place. It happened to me, my mom flipped out because she found out that they weren’t recycling everything that’s putting in a recycle bin. That’s where consumers are like, “We’ve been doing this so long and you’re not even recycling it.” Now they’re frustrated. We end up in that situation as well. At least maybe it had to have a data report coming up from the recycling agency that you’re paying to take away your goods that say, “We’ve recycled 90% this month. We’ve managed to do it.” That’s a future of this as well. Let’s talk a little bit about the challenges though. GS1 is getting involved as an outsider in a way. You’re an independent third party. What are some of the challenges of trying to pull this all together in different industries?

I would say the biggest challenge standards always face is the perception of competitive differentiation. One company thinks, “If I do this, I’m going to be the leader. I’m going to be better.” We’ve been very fortunate that some of our strongest members, it is the retail industry, the healthcare industry that utilizes standards and brings their community along. They’ve said, “Data is not a competitive differentiator.” What we do with the data most definitely is, but the need for data because the consumer is demanding it. The patient requires it. We have to do this.

What the challenge I saw historically around standards is people would explore emerging tech, build something cool and they’d hit this adoption plateau like, “I can only do this with a certain amount of trading partners.” They come to GS1 and say, “We need to standardize this so that we can get a 100% adoption.” We serve that role. That’s where standards came from. What we learned in the past few years happened with omnichannel. Where the consumer forced omnichannel on retail. It wasn’t retail that made the decision to be anywhere, anytime.

It’s very true. I’ve written a few articles on that.

I can buy this anywhere, where I want, get it shipped where I want. We had a few of our members say, “I don’t want the next omnichannel retail to catch me by surprise. I want you to help me look around the corner.” I did take a mind shift for us as well from being standards facilitators to emerging technology explorers. We call it the GS1 US corporate development, the worthy innovation team and our job is to look at 2 to 10 years out what’s going to happen, what technologies will impact supply chains. All of the people down to the consumer and up to the producers and raw materials suppliers, how do technology and standards intersect to make that better and improve that experience? I feel very fortunate and that members have always put their arms around us and encouraged us to move forward. Blockchain has been reinvigorating the conversation around data sharing and in fairness, people have been resting on their laurels. If you go back to electronic data interchange, people implemented EDI many years ago and said, “We’ve done it. We get purchase orders. We got invoices. They’re all electronic, we’re good.”

Blockchain is a way to distribute and share information across parties. Click To Tweet

Everybody knows when we’re out of inventory and it’s on them.

This need for that real-time visibility and anyone in the chain being able to contribute to a positive experience if they know and you look at machine learning and ways to better ingest data, digest it and use it for intelligent insights. You look at blockchain as a way to distribute it and share that information across parties. You look at IoT also as a way to do an automated gathering of that data. How cool is it that whether you’re in a supply chain environment or even in your home if you choose, I’m not trying to scare people who have privacy concerns away. If you choose right, you can opt into an experience that says, “Let my devices tell you some things about me and about my preferences that will allow you to drive convenience for me.” There are some consumers who want everything from the auto brewed coffee to the shower on their desired temperature. It all converges. As soon as I walk in the door, it all happens.

I want that Hollywood beauty lighting every time I walk into a room, please. This is the thing that most consumers don’t realize the press that is going to happen, the push that is happening into being able to come to some standards at this stage. Think about it this, I read an article about the percentage of returns that Amazon is expecting post-holiday. It is something like 77% returns and there they now have pushed omnichannel returns. That’s what I’m calling it right now. It means you can return at Kohl’s, you can return it in Whole Foods, you could return it in all these places and all you have to do is bring the product with you. They’ll package it right back up for you, they’ll do everything. You don’t even have to do that anymore.

The minute it gets scanned, it’s back in the system again at Amazon. Now, no one’s inspected it. There will be a whole host of issues about what happens with these returns. Returns have to be tracked as well because you can’t return something to inventory without an inspection process. That’s general retail. There’s a whole bunch of issues that are going to go on with that. Amazon has to deal with third-party sellers and the quality of those third-party sellers. The expose on beauty products, Amazon is one of the worst places to buy beauty products because there are no controls on the third-party sellers. The contaminants are high. Looking at all of that, they’re so large right now that it’s going to have to push a data interchange in a different way so that they can take control of it because they are not a source.

Before Walmart was controlling the source, they could demand all their suppliers comply. Amazon is not that way. They keep that independent level. Now, they have to rely on a company like yours to say, “We’ve got to put some standards in place that everybody has to comply to play in the retail market.” You guys have a great challenge ahead of you because there’s so much and it’s moving so fast. There’s still a lot to play out on the industrial blockchain side. It’s not like one blockchain is emerging at the forefront. That is complicating the difficulty for you at this stage right now. The technology hasn’t quite matured.

We’ve been very focused on interoperability and how do we get the different platforms to talk to one another. Technology aside, the data needs to be shared. We try to float. It’s threading that needle of the space we need to be floating in to help people without hindering them.

Is there anything else you want us to know about what you’re working on, Melanie, that people even some use cases that you’ve seen are already emerging that you think have great potential?

There was something you were saying. I can’t remember it off the top of my head, but we’ve talked a little bit about food and we’ve talked about hard goods and apparel where you have great examples, whether it’s cradle to grave or even source and getting some producers, growers, the whole protein supply chain. All these people who weren’t part of the electronic record of an item, how do they participate? Another interesting one that has a slightly different flavor is food service. Because you think about the ingredients going into a restaurant and how they are transformed before they come out as your final dish. We see some cool stuff where now the materials all come in, it’s different types of produce and they all have an identity. I’m a bell pepper. I’m spinach. I’m arugula. I’m going to chop those things up and put them together. I’ve taken three identities and I do something we like to call transformation, link them together, transform them into this beautiful salad, which is so healthy and delicious that carries its own identity.

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Working With A Blockchain: The biggest challenge standards always faces is the perception of competitive differentiation.

 

Now, you can also link that salad and you see this happen even in loyalty apps. What was your last order? A lot of them are good at now tying you to that unique bowl of food or plate of food that was created specifically for you. Technology has unlocked the world of universal unique identity that is available to us. Anything can be uniquely identified. We have raised standards around connecting the dots from where it began to where I consumed it or used it. What we’re trying to do to what you said is to ensure that the technology matures to need that need. The worst thing I think that could happen is people lose interest. I got bored of waiting for blockchain.

It then takes you all the way back to the beginning. I got this far up the hill and now I’m going to start and chase a different hill. I always like to say be persistent and pleasant about it, but we get weary when we hit this trough of disillusionment that the analysts like to talk about with blockchain. We’re going to miss that big upswing of value that’s on its way. For us, it’s continuing to stay focused on identity, on uniqueness and also then ensuring that technology delivers on the foundational business requirement that supply chains have. We bring the members or the members to bring us in. It’s a happy family moving forward. It’s interesting times given how rapidly things are changing, even when maybe you and I started our careers.

I’m energized and excited about it. I’m excited about it not just from the trackability, traceability and building more trust in the process like we’ve been talking about here. I’m also more excited about the brand opportunities on the other side because when we can show we’ve done something unique, we can also embed in this process a beautiful video about how something was produced and handmade and in a specific country or in a specific place. Now, we can start to deep dive into the craft of what we’ve been doing. That is exciting too, as the future of that because we’re getting to some of that in some apparel industries. Some other things where we’re talking about how stuff was designed and beautiful objects and we can do it at a higher end.

When we can do that, because the data is all there, all we have to do is, “Let’s link a little video. Let’s link a little story.” That marketing opportunity helps people start to build trust with our brands too at a much deeper level that shows that we care at every point along the way. We are doing our very best to ensure quality, safety and beautiful designs or whatever that might be that our brand cares about. I look forward to that stage of it and I’m not going to hit the trough of disillusionment. That’s not what we do here. Our point here is to make sure we keep pushing you through because there’s viability, there are great use cases and there are people like you and GS1 working towards making sure that these things continue to move forward.

Melanie, thank you so much for enlightening us and bringing some information. I hope we’ll keep in touch and let us know as standards go in, what these are and why they’re important as you start to build more and more standards in the future. Melanie Nuce is the Senior VP of corporate development at GS1 US. You will be able to connect with Melanie and with everything that’s going on at GS1 at NewTrustEconomy.com. You can reach out and converse with us about this idea of maybe refund omnichannel and the future of blockchain, Internet of Things, all of those things that you want to have a chat about or maybe a little bit of debate. You can do that @NewTrustEconomy everywhere on social media.

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About Melanie Nuce

NTE 64 | Working With A BlockchainAs senior vice president of corporate development at GS1 US, Melanie leads a team that investigates new technologies, partnerships and business opportunities to increase the relevance and reach of GS1 Standards—the most widely used supply chain standards in the world. She oversees the exploration of collaboration opportunities to help businesses leverage emerging technologies including the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and machine learning.

Ms. Nuce has more 20 years of retail supply chain experience, focusing in recent years on retail industry collaboration to improve inventory accuracy, exchanging standardized product data and achieving source to store supply chain visibility.

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