Emerging technologies are creating opportunities for greater equity within developing countries that produce the very commodities we consume and utilize on a daily basis.
Whether it be coffee, cotton, cocoa, minerals, or palm oil, a digitized supply chain utilizing blockchain and other emerging technologies is improving access, accountability, transparency, traceability, pricing, product quality, and speed of delivery.
This optimization serves every stakeholder at each step within a supply chain network. The outcome translates into improved livelihoods of production communities, greater peace of mind for wholesalers and retailers, and a more satisfying experience for end-use consumers.
So, Who’s Reconfiguring Supply Chain Solutions?
A young Denver-based software technology company, Bext Holdings Inc., has developed a complete digitized logistics system, or bext360 that can serve an entire product supply chain ecosystem from origin to end-user.
Using the SaaS platform, bext360 allows companies to track the origin, authenticity, and sustainability of their products.
With the use of Blockchain, AI, and mobile app technologies, their software is embedded into existing ERP and POS systems to provide end-to-end traceability for wholesalers and retailers. Data is collected at every stage of the supply chain, sustainable measures are qualified, and all of this becomes an immutable record on the Blockchain.
The benefit of Real-Time Transactions
Traditionally, small farmers in developing countries are subject to middlemen who determine the quality and price of the crop and control how and when the farmers get paid. Instead, bext360 has created an alternative means for adhering to a consistent process of assessing quality, generating a fair price, and paying farmers instantaneously once the crops have changed hands.
This is how it works: at the place of origin, bext360 utilizes a high-tech device or kiosk with the capabilities of analyzing crops, such as coffee cherries, by putting them through an imaging system that can determine the size and consistency of a cherry yield. Using AI technology, the device captures a 360-degree image of the crops to assign an industry standard of quality and weight of the product being sold through Bluetooth IoT connection.
Bext360’s software utilizes Stellar, a global payment solution employing blockchain technology. Through bext360 mobile app, the buyer and seller can facilitate the transaction by recording product quantity while processing instant payments to farmers based on price and weight. All this data is inputted into traceable software. The farmer can then be paid instantaneously in real-time at the point of selling the products. For the retailer receiving shipments, a QR code is used to trace their products as they move end-to-end through the supply chain.
How Did This Start-Up Start?
From the U.S. and China to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and India, entrepreneur, founder and CEO Daniel Jones spent over 17 years living and working in emerging and frontier markets.
With deep knowledge in technology, applied mathematics, and e-commerce, Jones envisioned a network of digital solutions to solve the access needs in developing economies and improve the traceability, accountability, and sustainability of goods throughout the supply chain.
SKS Venture Partners, an investment company that focused mostly on financial tech companies, invested $1.2 million of seed funding monies to support the launch and future developments of bext360. In 2017, bext360 become the first company to trace coffee from origin to retailer using Blockchain.
Blockchain Brings Hope to New Ways of Doing Business Worldwide
According to the Fairtrade Foundation, “coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Around 125 million people worldwide depend on coffee for their livelihoods and 80% of it is produced by 25 million smallholders.” However, many of these small-scale farmers are unable to earn equitable and reliable wages from the coffee beans they grow, harvest, and produce.
Emerging technologies like Blockchain remain promising. In terms of breaking through issues of fraud, exploitation, and sustainability by digitizing and streamlining the supply chain process.