Most of today’s supply chain chain systems are centralized, expensive, and backed by FIAT (backed by debt) driven institutions/design. There is also a multi-level, deeply entrenched, broker network that arbitrages millions of $’s before most products are even produced and shipped. These relationships were formed after years of nepotism for first access, grand exchanges of promises backed by hopes and dreams, and/or vast amounts of pooled shared wealth for a common goal to maintain the system. The pandemic exposed these broker networks as being woefully inefficient in communicating information in real time and paying their bills by Net 30. A serious change in the fundamental way vital supply chains work is necessary in order to alleviate supply chain based inflationary costs, largely driven by the existence of brokers.
I created and maintained a revolutionary product consolidation system at scale, using real humans and real human processes (all of which could be automated), currently in use today with several Fortune 500 companies. I’ve also worked many levels of operations and sales, a story of a forklift driver to an international produce sales broker to a systems architect by stumbling into them through plain dumb luck. I have had the fortune of getting a real world understanding of the problems/culture of the people who feed America on all levels through real unique experiences all over America. Because of this hyper unique lens into the economic underpinnings of how food moves nationally end to end, I’ve been able to see how the broker network operates down to its fundamental levels and why their industry needs to be changed.
In the produce broker marketplace, information exchange is extremely crude, sometimes a paper, pencil, and listening to a barked order via the phone. Overcoming many generational/cultural communication challenges is the backbone to how brokers make their money. I standardized a common language between Excel Spreadsheets and email communications between 150+ different national collaborators and location managers and 50+ sourced based entities and their internal operation systems. All reading my system information, and using it to make their decisions for the day. I watched my competition refine their system, and noticed how their information processes moved to match mine. It was then that I realized that I was a mover and shaker, capable of disrupting the entire industry. I also have an extraordinarily practical use for NFTs that seem to be completely missed by the entire market (LoL iT’s jUsT a JpG).
What the NFT product serves:
The “market” for food supply chains and their broker networks exist as Information Sharing. Most information is shared via a centralized agent who provides a universal serial code created by their internal Order Entry System (A human process) to represent a bundle of orders. This is the “Market Maker” of the supply chain. It charges fixed and variable rates based on their total volume of units per overhead costs. Their product is Human Efficiency at Communicating and Understanding Displayed Data + Communicating Inefficiencies and Priorities in Real Time Clearly. Adherence to the universal serial code and understanding implications varies per human and is subject to human error.
In the US Produce industry, prime for disruption, ALL SHIPPERS operate this way, and mix their systems/codes interchangeably (a risk that loses $ on failure to communicate properly). Also, information must be clear as FDA/USDA regulations require traceability on all products to limit foodborne diseases. This puts a financial burden on suppliers, third-party shippers (backed by brokers), third-party logistics (backed by brokers), and local distributors (backed by brokers and consultants).
Because of how stretched supply chains are nationwide, resolving individual human errors from source to end-user can frequently go beyond the Net 30, and serious financial strain can occur that results in inflation and margin creep. Because food has an expiration date, speed from source to market with enough “shelf life” is key and drives even more risk. Human errors create millions of dollars of risk that is hedged by an inflationary bubble of brokers attempting to resolve the problems in real time via deception/transparency tactics. It’s archaic, debt-laden, and inflates food costs by being a byproduct of the desk phone era.
The NFT is a technology upgrade to the “QR Code” (barf). The NFT can be applied physically onto every sold unit to be shipped. The NFT can be easily integrated into the label printer that exists on every packing line, and could easily hook into today’s processes with minimal disruption to how supply chains work today. The information within the NFT are the traceability standards and product specifications, along with information specific between the producer and the customer such as internal PO codes. Because NFTs store significantly more data digitally (and physically when printed to appropriate PPI specs), integration with web3 enabled headsets could allow for a real-time HUD for order pickers through AI-enabled NFT detection on the forward camera. A HUD system enabled by NFT tracking could dramatically reduce employee picking errors at time of ship (most common source of claims and loss of revenue) prior to the robotics technological upgrades to warehousing at greater scale.
The NFT Serves as the receipt for the transaction, the method by which money is exchanged, and because the transaction is tokenized, the asset representing the purchase can be a store of wealth, as it ties access to that specific data set the NFT represents. Unless stated prior to the purchase that the NFT keys move with the product, the NFT can be re-used by the shipper after completion of the smart contract (customer receives the product physically and decides to keep it, closing the risk chain, providing the shipper with the currency used to purchase the product).
Shippers are incentivized to utilize this revolutionary way of interacting with their supply chain, as it provides an innovative new product + utility at little cost and tokenizes their liabilities at the moment of creation. These tokenized liabilities (finished product at the point of manufacture and not physically in the hands of the customer) is a market that 3rd party logistics want to see and interact with. In times of need for extra logistic support, the shipper can buy its own governance tokens, raising the market price and incentivizing new truck-driver engagement. Shippers in a local economy of similar market capitalizations will monitor their competitors’ governance token price to glean information on true market moving events in real time. “Did Gamestop sell its governance token to encourage more Doordash driver engagement due to outrageous PS6 sales? Cramer says “IT WAS ALL MY IDEA” tonight on CNBC.”
Third-party logistics companies are incentivized as well. By sharing some of the financial burden and putting capital to buy a supplier’s held tokenized liabilities, this provides fresh liquidity to the supplier to make capital improvements via an eventual sell of the inflated asset, and governance token rewards to the 3rd party logistics which can then use as collateral on its routes it uses to service between the suppliers and the customers.
The Future – “To Scale Rapidly”:
With the capital generation in the hands of the producers and movers, it becomes obvious why an ecosystem built fundamentally on conviction and cooperation wins. It is only in the failure to cooperate, does the system break, and that would require the market to agree. When the future is held in the hands of the market by the market, the market can forge its own destiny.
I envision a time where a woman in central Wisconsin finishes jarring the last batch of pickles in her kitchen. She worked hard today to fulfill an order from a customer in Chicago who found her pickle operation during a virtual vendor fair during a Metaverse session. This order is to be shipped via Doordash by noon, and it’s 11:30AM. The woman slides over to her computer where she goes to her email for the NFTs she’s to print. She needs 100 today, and wants them to be sincere in nature. She sorts the marketplace via Doordash enabled NFTs, and selects the 100 Little Gherkins Collection. Because this is a regular thing for her, all of her supplier information is saved to her profile, and encodes the NFTs with the tracing protocols needed by Doordash and the Customer. With her Smart Contract now enabled, and 20 minutes before Doordash arrives, she moves to label and then scan with her iPhone each jar before putting it into boxes. Thanks to 5G technology, this automatically is applied to the NFT address, and the product can then be tracked in real-time as it moves through the system.
After applying the NFTs to each of the products and scanning them all, the pickle maker sets the order on the curb before the Doordash delivery driver arrives. The Doordash delivery driver then steps out of the car, and scans one of the NFTs to access the collection and the smart contract. Instructions on care and acknowledgement of possession of the NFTs (in some agreements an introduction of shared collateral), the Doordash driver takes possession of the product without ever seeing the woman. After a series of hand-offs between drivers across a network built to interface with cross-country lanes built on servicing the new crypto-enabled market, the pickle’s arrive at the customer’s doorstep, no different than last night’s Taco Bell. The customer takes possession of the jars, and must acknowledge receipt, through a notification that appears through the parameters detailed by the smart contract.
This entire decentralized ecosystem is created when NFTs are applied to real products that real people want at the time of production. Because the information encoded into NFTs can be significant enough to change the fundamental ways an industry can operate, first to market wins.