BY CLAIRE SWEDBERG
The company’s ytem SaaS platform provides an open end-to-end solution so members of a food item’s supply chain, as well as consumers and other public parties, can access that information for food safety or long-term analysis.
Oct 08, 2021 Mojix is among a dozen technology companies that have won the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Traceability Challenge with its ytem software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. The winning solutions were selected from among 90 submissions to make supply chain data available for the food industry, as well as for regulators and various stakeholders. The ytem solution is aimed at enabling information about a uniquely identified product, such as a fish, to be tracked and shared with supply chain members, consumers and others seeking trends data (see RFID Brings Visibility to Quick-Serve Restaurants and Stores).
The system is designed to combat what have previously been more siloed, fragmented approaches, by which data is not shared among various parties. The solution was chosen for its affordability and innovation, according to Hélène de Lailhacar, Mojix’s head of global marketing. The ytem system consists of a software platform with a cloud-based repository that is shared by supply chain partners and potentially members of the public, enabling them to gain a view into a product’s entire lifecycle, from farm to fork.
The FDA challenge was launched as part of the America Competes Reauthorization Act of 2010. Following the call for submissions, 90 companies responded, then the FDA selected 12 winners. The winning companies represented the United States, Canada and New Zealand, according to the FDA. Those submitting also hailed from Australia, China, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan. The goal was to develop end-to-end traceability from source to table, throughout the food-safety process.
The FDA has been seeking ways in which to help food growers and producers voluntarily adopt tracing technologies to meet new and future regulations centered around food and health safety, said Frank Yiannas, the agency’s deputy commissioner for food policy and response, in a recorded statement. The FDA is seeking cost-effective solutions and had asked the applicants to develop innovative and affordable solutions for the produce and fish markets. One of the goals, Yiannas said, was to evaluate models for solutions that would be low- or no-cost, offset by the system’s benefits for users, and that would enable human and animal food operations of all sizes to participate in a scalable, cost-effective manner.
“The winning solutions are smart, impactful and covering the entire food continuum,” Yiannas further said. The FDA now plans to consider how all the solutions can help benefit food traceability. The agency has been shifting some of its focus toward technology-based data-collection solutions to help businesses track and trace, and to thus react faster to health issues. For example, its Food Safety Modernization Act, Section 204, was released in 2011 and involves the tracking and tracing of food products to promote better recordkeeping. The FDA next proposed its Rule for Food Traceability in 2020 in response to a directive from the U.S. Congress to adopt additional record-keeping requirements.
Hélène de Lailhacar
Many growers and fisheries, however, are not technology-enabled. When fish are caught on boats, or when crops are harvested in large fields, there is little technology infrastructure available at those locations to capture and store information regarding what is taking place. For the FDA, de Lailhacar notes, even as regulation is growing related to traceability, the agency is striving to make sure the industry follows that directive. “The cost of technology can be an obstacle, as well as ease of use,” she says. Therefore, Mojix presented a solution designed to be low in cost and open to all supply chain members and beyond, and that could potentially generate revenue for those interested in reviewing the data.
Typically, a farmer or fisherman would apply a tag to a container or carton as food comes out of the ground or sea. The tag could utilize barcodes, QR codes or passive UHF RFID chips, and the tag IDs would be used to create a virtual identity for all of the products within a specific crate. The ytem system enables users to track a fish in a crate, for instance, or specific pieces of fish sent to different parties. Users could employ a smartphone to scan each label or an RFID reader to capture each unique tag ID to identify the container. The operator would next input the related data, such as details about the fish being loaded into the container, as that action took place, along with the conditions, the food’s weight or other information.
The collected data would then be stored in the cloud via Mojix’s software platform. As each container leaves the custody of a given party, then enters a warehouse or store, the next individual to handle the goods could scan or read the label and update the data, as well as view that container’s history. If a container of fish was processed or cut into pieces with different destinations, each piece could be tracked in the ytem platform. A single piece of fish could be placed in a new tagged container with a new destination, and the operator would input the new data, thereby linking both labels. Eventually, the fish could be processed to create, for instance, a can of tuna. The barcode on the can’s label could be linked to all historical data related to that specific piece of fish.
Thus, even consumers could potentially have access to information about that fish by scanning the label’s barcode. The primary point for Mojix, de Lailhacar says, is to provide an open system that could be used by all. “We realized that if we were the only ones doing this, we would keep siloed data from the industry,” she states, “so we proposed an open ytem supply chain so service providers, producers of food, logistics or retailers could all log into the chain.” Mojix piloted the solution prior to completing the award entry, by tracking fish from the point of catch to the store.
The FDA’s challenge also centers around affordability so that food producers are not burdened with high technology costs. Mojix says it envisions the system being used in such a way that the technology would pay for itself. The company intends to accomplish this goal by providing aggregate data (used for trends analysis, for instance) that would be of interest to parties who would pay for access. As one example, food companies might wish to view production yields across multiple supply chains, along with the movements of specific food items over time, to make their own production plans.
Financial markets could pay for the information to gain analysis, while consulting firms might be interested in purchasing data, just as they might pay for information from medial sources or analysts. Other companies could gain value from the data as part of their own consumer-based solutions, Mojix speculates. For example, French company Yuka offers an app that enables users to view information indicating whether products on store shelves are healthy, as well as the impact they could have on the climate, so that shoppers can make an informed decision about their purchases.
The ytem-based data could further enhance such apps, the technology company reports. Following the nod from the FDA, Mojix says it is now part of the agency’s technology ecosystem and is seeking partnerships to carry on that mission. “We have to extend our arms to other players,” de Lailhacar says.
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Partnership provides the most comprehensive supply chain management solution for supplier compliance, quality and food safety; offers item-level traceability and transparency to speed inventory, incident and recall management for food service, hospitality and retail businesses. San Diego, Calif. – September 28, 2021 – CMX, a leading provider of cloud-based Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS), and Mojix, a global leader in item-level intelligence solutions, today announced a strategic partnership for advancing comprehensive end-to-end traceability and food safety, with Mojix launching the first open data access, item-level food traceability platform, and CMX being the first solution provider to integrate with the new platform. As part of the agreement, CMX will integrate the Mojix ytemTM platform–selected by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as a winner in a recent traceability challenge–with the CMX1 platform, used by leading brands worldwide. The integration gives CMX customers access to lightning-fast item-level traceability and visibility into inventory and item lifecycle across supply chain partners and retail locations. This further speeds and automates the resolution of product incidents, withdrawals and recalls managed on the CMX1 platform. Mojix’s SaaS-based solution enables the tracing of Key Data Elements (KDEs) and Critical Tracking Events (CTEs) along the supply chain, allowing item-level and lot code traceability when outbreaks of food-borne illness or recalls arise. This level of traceability meets the proposed rule 204 of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and facilitates fail-proof quality control via the systematic review of origin, destination and freshness at each stage of the supply chain. “We’re excited to be making our proposal to the FDA a reality with this partnership. Together with CMX, we’ll usher in a new era of operational efficiency, speed and accuracy when it comes to inventory, incident and recall management,” said Dan Doles, CEO for Mojix. “The partnership and integration with CMX, the leading expert in digitizing and automating supplier management, food quality and safety processes, is a gamechanger for food service, hospitality and retail businesses and is, ultimately, focused on benefitting the end consumer.” According to Mitch Porche, CMX CEO, Ytem’s specific capabilities for quick-serve restaurant (QSR) and grocery store applications align well with CMX and its customer base. “We’re extremely pleased to join the Mojix program as the first partner, and to bring their FDA award-winning solution and its enhanced capabilities to our customers,” said Porche. “Their architecture, technical approach, and focus on open access to item-level inventory management and traceability allows for more flexibility and easier adoption than other competitors with closed ecosystems. As a seamlessly integrated extension of the CMX1 platform, the joint solution offers an exceptional approach to managing product quality and food safety, providing brands the opportunity to improve responsiveness, ensure customer safety, and mitigate risk when resolving product-related incidents and executing product recalls.” CMX customers using the integrated solution will also benefit from less food waste and less impact on food costs when executing a recall. Item-level tracking and end-to-end traceability give them precision information on lot code, date and time stamps for production runs and more, eliminating the need to dispose of or destroy more product than necessary. Mojix Selected as One of 12 FDA Food Safety Winners Worldwide Earlier this month, Mojix was selected by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as one of 12 worldwide winners in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety Low- or No-Cost Tech-enabled Traceability Challenge, which encourages the development of cost-effective traceability solutions for human and animal food operations of all sizes. More information on a September 28 FDA webinar showcasing Mojix and the other winners can be found here. Ytem works by bringing together manufacturers, processors, distribution centers, wholesalers, and other supply chain partners who attach their own specific product or ingredient data in the form of KDEs and CTEs to a digital ID. Each of these stakeholders is able to see previous events in Ytem before registering a new one, making the process fully transparent and visible to all parties with access privileges. Mojix’s technology-agnostic platform allows for a variety of data capture, sharing and synchronization methods including barcodes, QR codes, RFID, NFC, APIs, GS1, and more. When product recalls are activated through CMX1, the platform uses this data to quickly identify the location of specified products within the supply chain and across retail locations to automatically create distribution lists for communications. Customers will have the option for pinpoint communications or broader communication depending on data availability.
Today, the US Food and Drug Administration announced the names of the 12 winners of the FDA New Era of Smarter Food Safety Low-or No-Cost Tech-Enabled Traceability Challenge. Mojix’s SaaS platform ytem™ was selected out of 90 submissions to take on the challenge of affordability via innovation and technology. ytem is the first open item chain for Food, using industry standards to link together traceability events (CTEs – Critical Tracking Events; KDEs – Key Data Elements) for each individual item and lot, to achieve end-to-end traceability in a highly fragmented supply chain.
Los Angeles, September 14, 2021 – Mojix, a global leader in item-level intelligence solutions for Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Retail markets, announced that they had won the FDA New Era of Smarter Food Safety Low-or No-Cost Tech-Enabled Traceability Challenge1. The salient features of their proposal for the challenge are largely derived from ytem’s original strongpoints:
Mojix invites, not only original food growers or manufacturers, but all third parties of the ecosystem – from fellow tech enablers to apps, labs and universities—to join them in building the item chain, and in leveraging the value of shared data.
Dan Doles, Mojix CEO said “Food safety is such a complex objective, that there’s no way a single company or organization can hope to achieve anything on their own. Our project is inspired by the principles of the highly efficient GS1 GDSN standards and identification network. Relevant and comprehensive data collecting and sharing, KDEs, CTEs and operational events tracking, combined with potential computing capabilities at the edge is the cornerstone of any viable food safety project today. We’re inviting all the members of the ecosystem to start building this collective data resource with us today!”
Mojix recently expanded their SaaS-based solution ytem to include specific capabilities for the Quick Serve/Restaurant (QSR) and Grocery Store applications. The solution provides an unprecedented level of visibility into food product lifecycles and supply chains, bringing significant improvements in key areas like customer safety, authentication, waste reduction, and operational efficiency. The solution is built in line with the projected evolution of Food Safety regulation in the United States and Europe, with particular attention to the FTL (Food Traceability List) and the FSMA 204.
Mojix is a global leader in item-level intelligence solutions for Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Retail. The firm is leading the way in item-level traceability solutions utilizing its high security, globally scalable cloud-hosted SaaS platform. Founded in 2004, the company has deep domain expertise in serialization technologies such as RFID, NFC, and print based marking systems. Mojix builds business intelligence from event-triggered actions tracking billions of unique identities, following item lifecycles from source to shelf. Companies can leverage the seamlessly integrated data to increase their sales and operational efficiency, reduce major risks and enhance their customer experience. With offices across the US, Latin America and Europe, Mojix is now a recognized expert in end-to-end, item-level track and trace, product authentication and automated inventory management. Learn more at www.mojix.com
This article first appeared on Sourcing Journal here.
by Sarah Jones
Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Estelle Huynh, chief business operations officer at traceability solutions provider Mojix, weighs in on the need for better product-level transparency and the lessons for fashion in food supply chains.
CREDIT: Sourcing Journal
Name: Estelle Huynh
Title: Chief business operations officer
Company: Mojix, Inc.
Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?
Apparel is mature and structured in its approach to the supply chain. Not surprising, when one thinks that two centuries ago, Britain was producing half of the world’s cotton cloth without a single cotton plant in the country! Supply chain and global trade go hand in hand.
Yet, apparel can learn from the food industry about traceability within a global supply chain. Sourcing and manufacturing transparency is an untapped lever for brand image and consumer preference. Apparel can also learn from luxury brands the value of reliable authentication, and the best methods to achieve it. Last, there is much to learn from the packaging industry and returnable assets tracking to reach sustainability targets and improve the bottom line.
How would you describe yourself as a consumer?
Where possible, I look for brands with a positive ecological impact, but mostly those that use cutting-edge technology to do so. I don’t see the point—nor do I see the efficiency—in trying to go back to our hunter-gatherer ways to fight global warming or waning natural resources. We’ve gone so far with science, I’m confident we can now repair, through science, what we’ve come to destroy.
As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?
Talent or creativity may lure me in, but honesty keeps me coming back. Honesty, for a brand, translates into a healthy level of transparency. Social media whistleblowers are currently cracking down on startups pretending to be something they’re not and delivering products that are not what they claim. Wouldn’t it be simpler to track-and-trace, inform and certify via technological means?
What’s your typical work (or weekend) uniform?
I’m just back from maternity leave, so I wear anything that I missed wearing during the past nine months!
Which fashion era is your favorite?
It’s in the future. We don’t know it yet.
Who’s your style icon?
Not very original of me, but I have to say Coco Chanel. I think it’s because of her creative and business success in a male-dominated society, what she did to free women’s bodies and bare their skin while preserving their understated elegance, and her mastery of “less is more.”
What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?
Following our pivot to a full SaaS business three years ago, we decided to expand the scope of our services and create a multi-enterprise technical architecture for traceability, leveraging our cloud platform.
We’re enabling any company to create an ecosystem of providers and partners, who can register and chain all their supply chain data to enable a global end-to-end traceability system. Brands—both in fashion apparel and food industries—have accelerated their digitization toward more automation and increased visibility. But their suppliers and manufacturers at the beginning of the chain cannot always implement such a transformation. We are, via this multi-enterprise vision, democratizing tools for transparency and data sharing, and preparing a future of consumer safety and awareness.
How would you describe your corporate culture?
It’s at once fundamentally caring and very ambitious. These two characteristics often seem impossible to reconcile, so I’m proud to say it defines our remote company. We’re at a human scale—we know and care for each other, and talents are valued and promoted. Plus, we have a lot of fun together at work, and with our clients!
What can companies learn from Covid-19?
That black swan events do happen and have a way of accelerating time and fostering innovation. Companies have had to engage transformation and digitization programs much earlier than they thought. It’s not like no one knew that online sales would keep growing and multichannel was important before Covid, but they thought they still had a few years ahead of them to pilot and deploy.
What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?
I would say to prepare for the “consumer with a conscience”—the one that needs information on provenance and manufacturing, not in general terms, but item by item. Because we don’t only buy a brand that we love, we buy items that we love. Brands can embellish, but items don’t lie. They were created somewhere, with raw materials that we know, and a carbon footprint that we can appreciate. Lasering in at item level doesn’t only hold a promise for operational processes, but for the brand. And people will pay the premium for information that they hold dear.
What keeps you up at night?
Currently it’s my baby son!
What makes you most optimistic?
Visionary talents and powerful women. I recently read books by two authors that have given me so much energy: Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (“We Should All Be Feminists,” “Americanah”) and French journalist Lйa Salamй (“Femmes puissantes”). Lйa Salamй interviews some of the most prominent women of our time and begins with the question, “What do you think makes you a powerful woman?” Not one of these awe-inspiring women admits to being powerful! I find their modesty both beautiful and outdated. Things are changing, I know it!
Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction:
Based on the technology we had developed for the retail industry, Ytem, we launched Ytem for Food, enabling traceability at item level for the food industry, and presented at NRF Retail Converge. The stakes are high, because we’re enabling food safety via item lifecycle and expiration date management. It’s a groundbreaking proposition because raw produce is difficult to tag, both for economic and practical reasons. We feel that if we can track-and-trace food items to comply with FDA regulations, we can track just about anything, making the data collected relevant, actionable and business-friendly.
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Los Angeles, June 16, 2021 – Mojix, a global leader in item-level intelligence solutions for Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Retail markets, will be featuring and demonstrating Item- Level Traceability solutions for food retailers at the NRF Retail Converge virtual event, which takes place on June 21-25.
NRF Retail Converge is a virtual event that offers a deep exploration of multiple specialties within the retail industry including loss prevention, supply chain and logistics, customer experience, store operations, ecommerce, and many more. With over 160 sessions and 150 exhiniting companies, attendees can get detailed insights and takeaways to help improve their businesses and discover the strategies that will drive success in the second half of 2021 and beyond.
The grocery and quick serve restaurant (QSR) industries have much to benefit from digitization and serialization: from inventory automation to waste reduction, increasing sales and reducing costs. To get full leverage, however, you need item-level track-and-trace. But, exactly how granular can you get?
During a demonstration at NRF Retail Converge on Monday, June 21, Mojix will show how the ytemTM solution provides an unprecedented level of visibility into food product lifecycles and supply chains, bringing significant improvements in key areas like customer safety, authentication, waste reduction, operational efficiency, inventory accuracy, and stock optimization.
For more information and to sign up: