Published on January 30, 2020
Here we reproduce an article by Alessandra Pinza appeared on Inno3, a digital magazine published by NetConsulting cube. The article was originally published in Italian, on January 29, 2020.
In order to contribute to the construction of a safer, smarter and more sustainable food chain, Wenda created a digital Platform which helps Food Distribution stakeholders to understand and navigate cold/hot chain data and, more broadly, traceability and freshness data, acting and adapting on the various stages of the supply chain through IoT integration with different traceability hardware and software.
From these, the Platform automatically collects and analyzes data to deliver insights and statistics about freshness and the cold chain to managers in stores, distribution centers, distribution platforms, kitchens, cooking centers and headquarters, facilitating their mutual cooperation. To understand how this happens, a small step back is necessary.
Wenda, the idea of a safe Food chain
Wenda is a technological startup born in Bologna in February 2015 thanks to the synergy between Mattia Nanetti (Coo/Cmo) and Antonio Catapano (Ceo/Cto). The core is composed of a multilinguistic team of professional innovators, both young and experts, with significant skills in systems and technologies integration. This allows Wenda to manage a scalable solution of international scope.
The startup was accelerated by Maersk, UniCredit Startlab and Intesa Sanpaolo; it received a rounds of investment from the AgriFood investment fund Rockstart, one of the largest startup accelerators in Europe, from Digital Magics, the main certified startup incubator in Italy, from an industrial investor and from a German investor with expertise in data science.
Nanetti said: “From the outset, Wenda’s mission was to contribute to create a safer, smarter and more sustainable Food chain thanks to the contribution of innovative solutions which leverage on last-generation technologies such as Big Data Analytics and IoT”.
Currently, Wenda aims to provide its clients with visibility of cold chain and traceability data along the various processes of the supply chain. Wenda’s future development lines involve the design of machine learning algorithms for predictive analytics (that is, digital tools which use data to anticipate future events, simplifying real time decision-making and early-planning processes regarding strategies and performances) dedicated to the calculation of deterioration probabilities of a given product during its distribution stage.
Nanetti went on: “Also, we are currently developing algorithms for prescriptive analytics which, by relying on the huge quantity of data collected so far, can provide precise information to indicate eventual corrective actions, proactively and in real time, ensuring the best company decisions when certain conditions or adverse events occur.”
Today, the Platform provides end-to-end supply chain visibility and turns data into useful information to guide company decisions with the goals to increase profits, cut Food safety management costs, increase trust, transparency and sustainability in the supply chain, streamline logistical processes, enhance decision-making processes, and prove compliance with existing norms to regulatory bodies and insurance companies. The Platform offers several features to make all data available quickly, without having to coordinate complicated analytical tools and lengthy management processes.
How it works
Form a single dashboard you can follow the product’s conditions, gaining full visibility of the hazard points in the supply chain, ensuring the best product care possible and preserving its integrity. The system for the alarms management automatically notifies the supervisor in case of problems., providing all the necessary information to make data-driven decisions; moreover, it allows to manage and assign on-Platform-alarms to your collaborators.
The Platform is accessible at differential levels inside the client company, facilitating both cooperation between different departments and operations governance by managers. Also, all journey documents are available in a cloud wallet, ready to be shared with partners and clients, or to show procedure compliance to regulatory agencies and insurance companies.
“Finally – Nanetti specifies – unlike other market-available data loggers and traceability systems, Wenda’s solution does not impact on the functionality and the compatibility of the system, which are always granted by the advanced integration features that make the Platform a digital, universal IoT solution”. The clients are various Food distribution actors, specifically importers/distributors, collective catering, organized distribution and large scale retailers. Wenda works also with many producers and logistics companies. Some of its clients are Camst, Baladin, Kettle Produce España, Acquamare and others. All of them sharing a peculiar attention to the quality of work to bring a fresher, safer product to their clients.
Wenda, strong points in the modern supply chain
Logistics in general, and global supply chains in particular, experienced an exponential evolution in the last few decades, which saw a great leap forward in the speed at which data are exchanged and a profound progression of control procedures. According to Nanetti: “If we look at the analysis of traceability development trends in the supply chain, we started off with manual writings on the package’s side, which were replaced with barcodes with the rise of the digital age. The next step was taken with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies, which provided higher efficiency and speed to scan products”.
Today, the development of Internet’s global connectivity pushes Food & Beverage supply chain actors who carry or store perishable or sensitive products to shift their focus towards IoT solutions to monitor shipments or cold rooms in real time, ensuring compliance with key parameters of freshness and Food safety.
Nanetti articulates Wenda’s benefits starting just from this point: “The sheer number of these technologies is constantly increasing, but they are disconnected with each other, not allowing for any use of the collected data since they are scattered over different platforms (sometimes even on paper), making it impossible to take quick, proactive decisions. This brings to costs, inefficiencies and the impossibility to promote your product in a transparent way. Here Wenda Platform stands as intelligent layer which collects all these data, and then it normalizes and analyzes them”.
The devices which detect the position of the inbound, stored, outbound or shipped goods, monitoring key parameters (temperature, humidity, etc.) send data in real time to the Platform, creating a smart network of control points. This network can provide accurate answers to the the questions of process improvement coming from multiple actors of Food & Beverage distribution.
As the Coo notes: “You know, in my view, one of the main benefits of Wenda lies really in the use of the net to gain visibility of thermosensitive supply chains and minimize Food waste management risks, leveraging IoT and Big Data Analytics. The reasoning goes as follows: if I do not know the conditions of my product in real time along the whole chain and through the various processes, I will not be able to make corrections if integrity parameters deviate from the established safety range in such a way to affecting product preservation. At the same time, I will not be able to avoid neither unnecessary Food waste nor further polluting emissions due to the eventual repetition of the transport operation”.
Besides ensuring lower management costs and higher speed in control operations, in this way you can also structure a Food chain oriented towards sustainability, which will be the cornerstone of future digital solutions.