For nearly 25 years, CAT Squared has developed manufacturing execution systems (MES) to manage plant-floor processes for food processing facilities. CAT Squared’s MES delivers end-to-end traceability from receiving of ingredients and dry goods through shipping of final product. By combining our MES with blockchain and other IIoT technologies, CAT Squared can now expand the reach of our capabilities outside the four walls of the plant, connecting all participants of the food value chain.

Connecting Manufacturers to Consumers

By scanning a QR code on a package of product, consumers are connected to high-quality consumer content plus traceability data from the MES (as selected by the brand’s marketing team). Through stories and data, consumers can experience the care and quality of the food they are about to purchase. Manufacturers can also offer promo offers and provide opportunities for customer feedback.

Connecting Manufacturers to Retail Customers

CAT Squared will offer a private blockchain for manufacturers to share select data with retail customers. Our team will create a unification warehouse and API services application to chain the right data from the MES to the QR Code. Chained information along with data with more rigorous data requirements will be moved into a private, immutable blockchain that the manufacturer can share with its retail and wholesale customers. This data will allow retailers to perform mock recalls and query quality check data. The blockchain platform archives the data securely and proves the data provenance with time-stamping during storage so it can be independently verified to consumers, retailers or restaurant chains.

Preparing Food Suppliers for Potential Blockchain Mandates from Retail Customers

Since Wal-Mart issued its traceability mandate to their leafy-greens suppliers, other suppliers have been watching closely to see if their industry will be next. CAT Squared is mindful of the need for interoperability between blockchains. If at some point in the future one of our manufacturing customers becomes mandated to share data with another retail customer’s blockchain, data can easily be integrated with other blockchain platforms like Food Trust.

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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.