Blockchain In Supply Chain Management Use Case #1: Modum
Blockchain In Supply Chain Management Use Case #1: Modum
This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Supply Chain Management series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and supply chain management.
In this interview we speak with Simon Dössegger, CEO of Modum.io, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the supply chain management business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Modum? Why and how did you begin?
SD: The idea for Modum was conceived because Marc and Pascal Degen, two of the original founders and current Members of the Board, anticipated the needs for scalable and digital supply chain monitoring under the regulatory changes made in 2013 due to their past experience in digitalization and pharma. In 2015, they began exploring ways to use blockchain to solve the challenges they saw by the means of a student thesis. This turned quickly into a partnership with the Communication Systems Group at the University of Zurich. Shortly after, a small team of engineers was assembled to compete in the 2016 Kickstart Accelerator. After winning the Future Emerging Technology Vertical, the company was formed as an AG in Switzerland and began conducting pilot projects which soon turned into the sophisticated solutions we offer today.
Personally, I joined Modum as a successor of the first CEO during the time of the MOD token sale in September 2017. After my previous successful startup exit, I was fascinated by the business case and potential behind Modum, convinced by the team, and loved the thought of being the right fit to bring this young company to the next level.
2. Please describe your use case and how Modum uses blockchain:
SD: At Modum, we build digital supply chain monitoring solutions to efficiently control the distribution of large volumes of sensitive goods, e.g. medicinal or food products or medical supplies.
In order to do so, we help our customers to:
- Measure relevant events in their supply chains based on IoT technology (e.g. temperature excursions) with a solution we call MODsense.
- Automate their business processes across different IT systems in their supply chain ecosystem. In order to securely manage and share measured supply chain events, we leverage blockchain technology. This is what we call MODlink.
- Optimize their business operations by leveraging the collected data and by closing the loop in actually applying the insights gained from the data back in the physical world. To this end, we apply the latest technologies in the fields of AI and machine learning.
The first MODsense product we developed in collaboration with Swiss Post is a pharma-certified monitoring system consisting of an IoT data-logger (MODsense) that allows easy integration into existing logistic processes and tools. It enables our customers to collect temperature data from within a package whilst in transit while also leveraging track and trace systems of forwarders (i.e. already established barcode scans) to reliably read out the data and provide immediate access to all stakeholders via a cloud infrastructure right at the time of the hand-over of the physical good.
In this case, we can leverage different blockchains (public and permission networks) to provide data authenticity and integrity, two important attributes when it comes to quality assurance. We achieve this by storing all quality criteria relating to a shipment — this is defined by a quality assurance manager prior to dispatch, for example — in a smart contract — think of a virtual trustee. During transport, our data-logger measures and records data. At readout, the smart contracts only accept the data of the same logger that has been pre-assigned with a specific shipment. If the right data is provided, it is automatically validated against the pre-defined quality requirements. Depending on the outcome, a supply chain event can be shared via the blockchain network to trigger trusted actions.
Ultimately, this allows distributors to fulfill GDP (Good Distribution Practice) requirements for pharma-related products in an easy and safe way.
Watch a quick video about our solutions here.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
SD: Recently, Swiss Post announced its collaboration with Modum. Post uses MODsense as the technology core to help monitor and measure the temperature of parcels containing sensitive goods, which they distribute via their standard channels, throughout all stages of transit. Many medicinal and pharmaceutical products need to be kept within certain temperature ranges whilst in transit. This enables them to offer a new service, “Thermomonitoring,” to all their business customers in the health care sector in Switzerland – a novel way to efficiently ensure GDP compliance of sensitive goods during the last mile in Switzerland compared to using temperature controlled vehicles.
4. What other blockchain use cases in supply chain management are you excited about?
SD: There are quite a few uses cases we follow very closely, and which make us feel excited about what is to come. Besides using blockchain to register and manage real-world events in a supply chain, using blockchain to keep track of serialization information across industries is similarly beneficial and relevant. It all helps to control a supply chain and prevent counterfeit. The true potential of blockchain, however, is only unleashed once enterprises start to directly trigger business processes and financial transactions via blockchain networks, e.g. to automatically claim and settle insurance matters in case of a corresponding event. This will enable a plethora of new use cases where you can use blockchain. We’re looking forward to creating leading solutions in those sectors.
5. Where will Modum be in five years?
SD: In the upcoming years, Modum’s core goals are commercial growth and international expansion. We are currently focusing on establishing a strong market position in Europe with a profitable product offering. We’re continuing to learn from our customers, and we are evolving our solution portfolio by exploring new use cases in addition to pharma, such as perishable foods and medical supplies. As the industry becomes more familiar with IoT and blockchain applications, the demand for our solutions to serve other stages of the supply chain is increasing. So, in five years, I see the supply chain industry in the midst of an advanced digital transformation process, with Modum being the go-to partner for effective supply chain control ecosystems across various industries dealing with sensitive goods.