On March 29, members of the CAT Squared team attended the 2019 Blockchain Conference hosted by the Center for Blockchain Excellence at the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business. The conference included several keynote speakers including Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas. There were also breakout sessions with panels of blockchain innovators and opportunities for developers to break out their laptops and practice interacting with blockchain development platforms. However, of all the sessions we attended, the one I found most exciting was a discussion led by Golden State Foods (GSF) Chief Technology Officer Guilda Javaheri.

The reason Javaheri’s presentation stood out for me is because most food-related blockchain presentations I’ve seen focus on traceability and freshness tracking. This one, however, showed how GSF combined other technologies with blockchain to achieve ROI through using real-time inventory data across the supply chain to match production with demand.

GSF supplies fresh beef patties to quick-serve restaurant chains. By combining blockchain with RFID and other IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) technologies, GSF now has a real-time view of all inventory and freshness data across their supply chain. With this knowledge, GSF can optimize their production to get the right product in the right place at the right time. This reduces waste due to spoilage and helps customers manage their inventory.

Javaheri included the following video as a part of her presentation. Like most marketing pieces related to food blockchains that I’ve reviewed, this one also focuses on safety, traceability, and freshness; however, it also illustrates how creative combinations of technologies can be used to generate ROI for multiple participants of the food supply chain.

As CAT Squared continues to navigate the evolving blockchain ecosystem, develop integration relationships with blockchain developers, and build our own blockchain-enabled solutions, we aim to add value to our customer relationships by continuing to highlight innovation within the industry and bring best-of-breed solutions to our customers. Though GSF is not a CAT Squared customer, this example illustrates how data collected through systems similar to ours can be integrated with other technologies to achieve a new level of insight into your value chain.

Kathy Barbeire

Written by Kathy Barbeire

Throughout my career, I’ve helped organizations think of creative ways to (1) harness new technology to maximize effectiveness, (2) collect relevant data to measure and improve performance, and (3) use data to tell compelling stories to customers and stakeholders. In 2015, I became CAT Squared’s marketing manager. In this role, I monitor industry trends to (1) ensure our products are flexible enough to adapt to new industry standards and (2) prepare our customers for new technologies with the potential to disrupt the industry. I’ve represented CAT Squared as a participant in a blockchain learning group that has grown out of Blockchain for Arkansas (BC4AR), an initiative launched by Governor Asa Hutchinson to promote capacity building around blockchain technology. As my own knowledge and capacity grow, I develop new content to educate our supply chain partners and help them prepare for the transition ahead. Prior to launching my career, I graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional and technical writing and a double minor in sociology and information technology. I later returned to UALR and completed the MBA program. Before joining CAT Squared, I applied my passion for data-driven storytelling to help nonprofits define their goals, track program metrics, and engage donors and community stakeholders in their missions to fight hunger, poverty, and homelessness, first as a program manager for the Our House Homeless Shelter in Little Rock, and then at The Salvation Army Central Arkansas Area Command.