Walmart urges its suppliers to use IBM blockchain technology
The largest retail company in the world, Walmart, has sent letters to its suppliers of farmed goods urging them to track their produce using blockchain technology.
The company announced its partnership with the US-based technology firm, IBM, to build the tracking system.
“Blockchain is a system of recordkeeping that is open to users. When a piece of permissioned information (or “block”) gets entered into the chain, other computers in the network are notified,” Walmart stated in a press release.
“This makes falsifying information very difficult, because the change of information is open for all to see.”
The IBM Food Trust will work to manage traceability in the food supply chain in two phases, allowing Walmart to tack food efficiently in a large system.
“With the traditional paper-based method of capturing information that exists at many farms, packing houses and warehouses, tracking down important data from multiple sources is extremely time-consuming,” the press release added.
“The food system is absolutely too large for any single entity to [track],” remarked Frank Yiannas, Vice President of Food Safety at Walmart.
“We’ve been working with IBM to digitize that, so the information is captured on the farm with a handheld system. It’s [also] captured at the packing house at the supplier.”
“In the future, using the technology we’re requiring, a customer could potentially scan a bag of salad and know with certainty where it came from.”
Grupo Espinosa: 70 years of constant evolution
Founded in 1952, Grupo Espinosa has been relentlessly supporting the publishing industry with producing more than 100 million copies every year – whether its books, magazines, catalogues or single-order custom prints. No project is big or small for Grupo Espinosa, as the facility can scale up on demand and their turnaround times are highly competitive. Grupo Espinosa works with on-demand digital press or offset press, in paperback with glued softcover binding, PUR softcover binding, stitched paperback binding, binder’s board, hardcover, saddle stitched, Spiral or Wire-O. Equipped with the experience needed for a product to leave the plant ready for distribution, Grupo Espinosa delivers anywhere inside or outside Mexico. Traditionally starting off as a black and white printing press, Grupo Espinosa has experienced transformation first hand – from colour to digital offset printing. Currently, Grupo Espinosa is also looking at making capital investments into audio books to match with the increasing demand.
So how did a seemingly local operation in Latin America become a world-renowned printing facility trusted by hundreds of clients? As Rogelio Tirado, CFO of Grupo Espinosa for the last six years says “It all comes down to our market experience and our dedication to quality”. With nearly 70 years behind them, and located in Mexico City, Grupo Espinosa has two major locations – one spanning 75,000 square metres and the other about 45,000 square metres. Both locations are controlled by a single ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system ensuring speed, consistency and quality of work. Tirado says this isn’t their only competitive advantage. He adds “Our competitive advantage is the relationship we have with customers and the trust they put in us with their intellectual property”. Speaking of trust, global publishing giant Macmillan Education exclusively partners with Grupo Espinosa for their Latin America operations, as part of Macmillan’s decentralized hub strategy. Having a facility that offered the full spectrum of service – from storing digital content to printing and distributing – was one of the major requirements for Macmillan, and Grupo Espinosa was recognized as the leading printing hub for providing this 360 infrastructure. Another factor that has led to success for Grupo Espinosa is the absolute focus on quality and time. The staff are committed to providing the best quality in the best possible time, without causing wastage of resources. Sustainability is a huge factor playing into Grupo Espinosa’s operations, and they’ve created a healthy environment with the sustainable use of paper and energy resources as well as keeping their employees – most of them associated with the organisation for over 10 years – happy. He adds, “In order to be truly successful, you need to be good to the environment, employees, suppliers, and your customers. But most importantly, you need to be sustainable, you need to have proper working conditions, pay proper salaries, proper prices for paper, source the paper from sustainable sources, pay your taxes, basically be a good global corporate citizen and that's probably one of the biggest achievements that we have.”