CEO Update, September 2019


CEO Update, September 2019

CEO Update

September 30, 2019

This month I want to shed some light on the work we are doing on a cross-industry level in terms of participating in the industry-wide discussion of supply chain monitoring governance, and also on how we are leading the ecosystem in terms of next generation process design and automation. I will close this month’s update by sharing an outlook on what is to come.

Our mission is to reliably provide and leverage trusted supply chain data to monitor, automate and optimize supply chains, thereby increasing quality while minimizing waste and inefficiencies. We know that along the supply chain, processes, products, knowhow, measurement equipment, etc., are all equally important to create effective yet manageable and affordable solutions. Thus, the issues supply chains of sensitive goods are facing need to be tackled by all stakeholders collectively. But why is it important to bring everyone together? Well, Modum is solving a logistics problem that is rooted in a lack of transparency and trust and there is no way around increased sharing and coordinating of supply chain data between stakeholders. In order to digitalize their interactions, all stakeholders need to jointly agree on the governance of collaboration, and on how consensus is defined in a case of misalignment. On a side note, this shared understanding can then be implemented in a supply chain-wide blockchain network to become the single source of truth, permitting data access, data integrity and authenticity of the shared supply chain information, but let us focus on the governance building part in this update.

Connecting with industry leading networks
As an example of such a cross-industry project, I would like to highlight our participation in the Innosuisse funded Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT)-based Supply Chain Transparency and Automation" launched at the Institute for Supply Chain Management in St. Gallen (HSG). It brings the industry, academia and the standardization body to one table to explore blueprint solutions for the continuous assurance of status information along the entire supply chain with the help of blockchain technology. By means of this blockchain-based end-to-end status information, individual processes in the supply chain will then be automated, for example through the use of smart contracts. 
One of the exciting parts of this project is that a consortium of academia, solution providers, manufacturers and logistics companies tackles digitalization challenges in the pharmaceutical and food industry in a joint, cross-industry approach. The parties provide different perspectives for similar challenges and can thus leverage their specific insights to come up with effective and future-proof approaches. We look forward to sharing the first insights soon.

The cross-industry project is funded by Innosuisse for the next two years and Modum is the main implementation partner. Project partners are the pharmaceutical company Vifor Pharma, the food company Hilcona, the logistics service provider Grieshaber Logistics Group AG, GS1 Switzerland and SAP (Schweiz) AG. Read the full media release of the project here.

Another example of participating in a cross-industry thought leadership project is the Industrial Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Technology Roundtable Zug in Switzerland. The goal of this industry group is to connect industry players, DLT service providers and other related parties to build a platform of engaged partners for joint efforts and applications. This platform exchanges and identifies valuable DLT use cases and ecosystems, it jointly realizes concrete POCs and pilots, establishes an approach of standardization and self-regulation, defines requests for technical standards and opens discussions about the need for structural and legal adaptations. The seat at this table ensures that Modum is at the helm of Swiss policy making and is proactively co-shaping standards and regulations.

In other cases, cross-industry programs are already established, and we simply participate and fulfill standards. A good example is our relationship building with the World Health Organization (WHO), which has a program called Performance, Quality and Safety (PQS) listing. The PQS process “prequalifies products and devices so that member states and UN purchasing agencies are assured of their suitability for use in immunization programs.” Having the opportunity to build a direct relationship with an important policymaker and healthcare provider such as the WHO will give Modum an additional competitive advantage and access to the worldwide vaccine supply chain. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

After our positive experiences participating in such consortiums, we are now liaising with more key industry players such as other industry-leading blockchain projects and standardization providers to increase our engagement in such exchanges and take a leading role in those discussions.

Industry Analyst Relations
We are also forging strong relationships with leading analysts, and one of the outcomes was Modum being featured as a Gartner Cool Vendor: “This April, Modum has been included in the Gartner Cool Vendor Report. Gartner stated, “[…] We profile three emerging blockchain technology vendors that successfully support such use cases, which CIOs should evaluate for relevancy to their environments.” Being included in such a report is extremely valuable for a young company such as ours and the message is loud and clear: We are to be taken seriously and are proficient at what we do. Read the full media release. However, this was only the starting point – we are frequently exchanging our learnings with their analysts, creating a shared understanding of enterprise needs in terms of supply chain-wide traceability and our approach how to achieve this.

Sought After Experts in Supply Chain Digitalization

As a result of our engagement outlined above, the industry is increasingly relying on Modum’s expertise in supply chain digitalization and automation, and different bodies are reaching out to us for our knowledge.

One example is the European Healthcare Distribution Association (GIRP), who has invited us to lead their roundtable about Blockchain earlier this year, helping GIRP-members to get more insights into how this technology can be leveraged to make supply chains safer and more transparent as well as engaging us in a future prone dialogue. Working closely together with an association such as GIRP grants us high-level access to the most pressing distribution issues in the European healthcare-sector.

A second example concerns a blockchain innovation festival: The canton of Zurich together with the University of Zurich (UZH Blockchain Center) invited Modum to be part of the Swiss delegation participating in the Zurich and Seoul Blockchained event in Seoul, where the two cities celebrate a blockchain innovation festival. Carl Spörri will give a speech on 1 October at the Sogang University and share our take on how blockchain can support end-to-end supply chain transparency and automation for the distribution of sensitive goods. This prestigious invitation would not have happened if Modum was not actively involved in the Swiss blockchain ecosystem, among others through Zurich’s Trust Square and the University of Zurich and substantiates our leading role when it comes to the real-world applications of emerging technologies.  

Our Own View
However, Modum not only participates in working groups, roundtables and the like, but also leads the conversation through its own event platform. MOD day is our very own event where we bring together our network to discuss current supply chain challenges and share our views on where the industry should be heading. It is an ideal format for us to condense all the insights and learnings we are collecting in our various engagements and share those experiences in the context of what we are doing with our own customer and partner ecosystem. Also, we learn how others are using our platforms to solve their problems, something we can establish as added value into other projects, which in our opinion is how an ecosystem should work.

If you want to be part of this unique event, request your personal invite for MODday 2019!  

We are proud that our thought leadership gets so widely acknowledged and that we have the opportunity to be part of such a broad variety of working groups, projects and roundtables. We want to further expand our active role when it comes to shaping the future of supply chain automation. Please feel free to reach out to us if you want to join the conversation!

I am looking forward to a productive October and I wish you all the same. Thank you for your ongoing support.

– Simon Dössegger, CEO

30 September 2019