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The tech.mn Podcast: Making Manufacturing Connections With David Klein of Inspectorio

It’s safe to say that for most consumers, any thought of “manufacturing” lives and dies on whatever store shelf they decide to grab their shampoo from. But there’s a lot — LOT — more that goes into any good reaching that shelf in the first place. Unfortunately, the process is so complex that a lot of important data gets muddied thanks to the often outdated process used to track it. David Klein, Co-founder and President of Inspectorio, is out to change that.

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Innovative supply chain solution secures £5m in funding to expand in Europe

Flowlity, an innovative AI-based supply chain planning and forecasting solution, has secured £5 million in funding, led by Fortino Capital, to expand throughout Europe. The funding will be used to accelerate its development with the aim to becoming an industry leader by providing innovate ways of reducing waste across the entire supply chain – enabling companies to save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

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Empower – Digitizing the journey from linear to circular econo

Wilhelm Myrer of Empower.eco talks about his blockchain tech to digitize the journey from linear to circular economies on Vinnie Mirchandani’s Analyst Cam blog.

The US EPA defines a circular economy as one which “reduces material use, redesigns materials to be less resource intensive, and recaptures “waste” as a resource to manufacture new materials and products.”

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Analyst Cam: Specright – making standards and specifications sexy

Matthew Wright of Specright presents on the huge payback from precise specifications in products, formulas and packaging.

Specright was one of the startups in their Sustainability cohort last year but as you will hear precision in specifications can have an impact in every  process which touches raw materials, ingredients, formulas, packaging and finished goods.

Matthew’s passion comes from a couple of decades in the packaging industry. As he describes in his book The Evolution of Products and Packaging, we have seen an explosion in SKUs and complexity in supply chains. As he says, existing ERP, PLM and other software were designed before complexity grew exponentially, and the lack of focus on specifications is the root cause of many supply chain issues we are seeing. BTW, Gartner identified them as a Cool Vendor in their Supply Chain category in 2020.

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Saara Founder and CEO Sachin Garg Joins Forbes NEXT 1000

Saara Inc CEO and Founder Sachin Garg have joined Forbes NEXT 1000 fueled by nominations from worldwide and screened by top business leaders and entrepreneurs. The evaluation was made based on parameters such as revenue, business model, funding, impact the business creates, and story behind the start of the business.

“I would like to thank Forbes for acknowledging and supporting what we are trying to do here at Saara, especially with market-disrupting products like EcoReturns. It motivates us to push ourselves further towards making eCommerce more sustainable, both economically and ecologically,” Garg said.

He plans to leverage the listing to market the brand to a wider audience to help them gain profits and meet their sustainability goals, simultaneously staying connected to future partners and investors.

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Analyst Cam: Algramo – Redefining CPG plastic packaging

Analyst Cam: Carlos Oliveira of Algramo presents on a different way to package and consume CPG products. Reduced plastic pollution, bite size economics, other benefits.

Algramo’s delivery mechanism is a vending machine dispenser where consumers refill in their reusable smart containers. Carlos says these containers can last up to 250 uses. RFID IDs in the containers and mobile apps help track consumption, container life and reuse patterns and also have a gamification angle. Carlos goes into some of the dispensing and sanitation technology.

The value propositions – Retailers save on shelf space. Producers like Unilever, Nestle, Colgate and Clorox are some of their customers who ship in bulk and save on packaging. Consumers pay for bite-size purchases at their point of need e,g, detergents are sold in public laundromats.  The world benefits from reduced plastic pollution. Carlos presents on data on their plastic, water and C02 savings.

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Plug and Play invests in GenLots

GenLots uses machine learning SaaS to optimize supply planning, saving up to 30% on inventory values and 50% on inbound logistics costs. The startup has received investment from the global accelerator Plug and Play.

 

With the launch of its Safety Stock Optimizer in 2020, GenLots’s founder and Co-CEO Simon Schenker introduced the first platform fully dedicated to supply planning aiming to transform existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems that have barely changed in the past 30 years.

The Geneva-based startup combines a new costing model and proprietary reinforcement learning algorithm, which builds optimal supply strategies, breaking down the financial impact of planning decisions in real-time and drawing simulations on purchasing parameters and more. With their approach, GenLots achieves up to 50% reduction in inbound deliveries (which positively impacts the CO2 footprint), up to 30% reduction in inventory, and leverages discounts negotiated by procurement departments. These results become visible within three months as GenLots is served by rapid integration – as SAP Silver Partner. Furthermore, GenLots enhances the experience for supply planners and their colleagues in related departments and helps create a standard throughout the company.

Players in consumer goods, pharma, chemicals and industrial goods use the platform. Among them are large companies like Barry Callebaut, a global leader in chocolate production, Huber + Suhner, a major Swiss manufacturing company and pharma company Merck.

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Sustainable AI Turns Small Data Into Huge Results For Manufacturers And Researchers

Sparse modeling AI is edging out traditional deep learning to become the technology of choice for product manufacturers and medical researchers because it ticks off all the boxes for modern quality control: explainability, energy efficiency, and speed. Just ask some of the customers from Hacarus, a Japan-based startup that’s developed a standout AI-fueled visual inspection solution.

“Sparse modeling AI is a surprising revelation for our clients that need to innovate faster while meeting high-quality standards, whether it’s electric vehicles, luxury watches, or drug discovery,” said Kenshin Fujiwara, CEO and founder of Hacarus. “They’re amazed at how we’re tackling traditional AI’s dirty secret, reducing the high energy costs of data collection and training, which saves time and our planet’s resources.”

A green, explainable AI alternative

According to some studies, training a single AI model using traditional machine learning (ML) can equal the carbon emissions of five cars across their entire lifecycles. That’s because ML algorithms attempt to “understand” every detail gleaned from huge amounts of data from scratch. In contrast, sparse modeling doesn’t require training from tens of thousands of images to yield a strong model for prediction. Because it starts with built-in assumptions, restrictions, and hypotheses, sparse modeling saves time by ignoring what’s already known. This reduces computational time and energy consumption.

On the factory floor, manufacturers need far fewer samples of both good and bad product parts to train the AI model, speeding up visual product inspections to detect defects and anomalies without sacrificing sustainability. Inside research labs, sparse modeling yields more explainable AI. For example, scientists exploring new drug treatments can more easily distinguish chemical compound reactions. In one pilot project with a pharmaceutical company in Japan, Hacarus’ solution performed 56 times faster than a deep learning algorithm.

“Sparse modeling is ideal for any precision engineering equipment or research company developing advanced products with less data,” Fujiwara. “Electric vehicle parts are a great example because it’s a brand new sector. Automakers and suppliers can create a reliable, AI-based model with as little as 20 images. It delivers the equivalent results of deep learning in a fraction of the time and energy.”

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Ingredients database helps companies launch better food products

AI-powered software analyses millions of ingredients to find the best fit for a particular product

According to food tech company Journey Foods, the global food industry is broken, with supply chain inefficiencies, sustainability failings, and malnutrition adding up to a broken system. In response, the US startup proposes a clear solution: data.

Journey Foods provides a suite of tools to help teams developing new food products understand everything about the lifecycle of their products, from the environmental impact of ingredients, to supply inefficiencies and opportunities for cost savings. At the heart of the offering is a vast database that contains information on millions of products and ingredients – amounting to 17 billion individual datapoints in total. AI is used to sift through all this information and provide recommendations for ingredients based on factors such as nutrition, sustainability, cost, and packaging requirements.

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Shippeo Expands in North America

Shippeo, a global leader in real-time transportation visibility, announces today it’s expanding its North American operations and U.S. executive team, as well as enhancing its customer-centric, multi-modal visibility platform. The systemwide enhancements will support global customers and the company’s growing North American customer base.

During this time of supply chain disruption, when visibility data is a lifeline enabling companies to proactively manage freight flows, Shippeo will accelerate the number of secure, direct integrations with U.S.-based trucking companies, logistics providers and ocean carriers, and have access to data from their terminal and port operator trading partners. This will build out Shippeo’s comprehensive, global, neutral partner network to augment the flow of visibility data to customers.

Shippeo’s presence in North America has uncovered an underserved aspect of the market’s visibility offerings, the customer-centric supply chain. By putting customers and their ecosystem of suppliers first, Shippeo has achieved a dominant leadership position in Europe and the Middle East with over 130 customers, including global brands such as, Coca-Cola, Schneider Electric, Sappi, Kuehne + Nagel, ThyssenKrupp and Saint-Gobain. In addition, 97% of Shippeo’s customers on Gartner Peer Insights would recommend the Shippeo Visibility Platform.*

Shippeo’s aim is to provide customers with the critical visibility data needed to increase operational agility and efficiency, strengthen their company’s supply chain execution and deliver a better experience for their customers.

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H3 Dynamics Launches Autonomous Drone Stations to Help Monitor Large Solar Farms

H3 Dynamics is announcing a new Robots-as-a-service solution for autonomous solar farm monitoring in partnership with Sitemark, a specialist AI-analytics company from Belgium.

The new partnership combines the DBX drone-in-a-box robots from H3 Dynamics with visual & thermal analytics from Sitemark to automate and scale up remote monitoring operations in large solar farm installations. Sitemark’s solutions have been deployed by Total, Bouygues, EDF, Engie and Orix to inspect over 30,000 ha of solar PV parks in 35 countries.

Designed as the “eyes and ears” of solar farm owners and operators, the DBX robot (video) can be deployed permanently at solar farms to track solar farm construction progress, identify solar panel degradation and provide on-site security.

“The unique combination of Sitemark Fuse and H3 Dynamics’ DBX will change the way data is captured and processed throughout the entire lifecycle of solar power assets”, says Michiko Lloyd, CEO of Sitemark.

H3 Dynamics is automating inspections across smart cities, precision agriculture, water infrastructure, and ports. Last month the company announced DBX G7, an agnostic Drone-in-a-Box platform capable of automating drones from any manufacturer, and deploying expert analytics from any developer.

In the wake of Covid-19, we are shifting the global drone industry towards an open tele-operations paradigm. “Our goal is to provide the world’s best data services from specialist vendors all over the world, available at any of our DBX installations globally” says Taras Wankewycz, H3 Dynamics’ CEO.

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Inspectorio Raises $50 Million To Help Brands Ensure Quality In Their Supply Chain

Brilliant Hire’s Smart Job Matching

Supply chain is a web that spans so wide that many large corporations can’t easily track the entire life cycle for each of its products — let alone capture enough data to ensure that everything is being done to standards and protocol. Carlos Moncayo knows the system all too well as the former founder and CEO of ASIAM Inspector, a company that supports brands and retailers with sourcing operations in Asia, he did everything from inspections to auditing to sourcing. This gave Moncayo deep insight on the many layers of the supply chain and it wasn’t pretty. He noticed a lot of issues surrounding visibility. After 10 years with the company, he was surprised they hadn’t gotten any better.

“We thought with supply chain management and production chain management, the only way to solve [the issues] was to approach it from moving offline relations to online relations and helping companies make sense of the data coming out of that,” he tells Forbes. But at the time, no one was trying to tackle that, so the former founders of ASIAM decided to try it themselves. They launched Inspectorio in 2016 to help companies and brands move their supply chain online and have better visibility and data surrounding quality and sustainability. Since Inspectorio launched its first product in 2017, the company has expanded its product offerings and more than 7,000 customers including Target and Kohl’s have signed on.

The Minneapolis-based startup raises a $50 million Series B round led by Insight Partners with participation from Techstar Ventures, Matchstick Ventures and strategic backers including Flexport, among others, as originally reported in Midas Touch newsletter. Ryan Hinkle, a managing director at Insight, says the firm has been building a relationship with Inspectorio since the beginning of the startup’s life. While the investment could have been sparked by the company’s progress — Hinkle points to the startup’s 93% revenue growth in 2021 — for him it was a bit more personal. His family used to own a clothing store and he remembers helping unwrap shirts and using a measuring tape to ensure the sleeves were the same length and that the size labels matched when he was a kid. Both of which would fall under the quality control assurances Inspectorio looks to provide further down the supply chain.

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Blockchain Helps Luxury Retailers Prove Provenance And Sustainability Claims

Diamonds and girls have been best friends for centuries, but that friendship has long come at a high cost for the communities involved in the excavation and processing of these highly coveted gems. Thanks to shifts in consumer behavior, however, sustainability considerations are now on par with price and design for consumers when purchasing diamonds, according to new research published by De Beers Group.

And it is high time. The mine-to-market journey contains a myriad of social and environmental impacts at every step of the way. From soil erosion, deforestation, and the destruction of ecosystems to the appalling working conditions, low wages, and child labor rampant in the industry, there is certainly a dark side to the way people have acquired their sparkling stones. The upside is that the industry creates high levels of employment and makes up a significant part of the GDPs of the countries that produce them.

Tackling these issues requires crystal clear insight into the value chain. Tools and services from Everledger, for example, enable independent retailers to easily reference the origin, human rights, and environmental performance of their diamond listings from the world’s leading producers. The global digital transparency company based in the UK uses blockchain to track goods from raw materials to the end consumer and beyond – making it ideal for retailers implementing circular business models.

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Smart IoT tracking startup Tag-n-Trac launches with $10M in new funding

“Internet of things” tracking startup Tag-n-Trac Inc. today launched out of stealth with $10 million in new funding.

Dell Technologies led the Series A round, with Merck Global Innovation Fund and Aerosafe Global also participating. Including the new funding, Tag-n-Trac has raised $11.8 million to date, according to data from Crunchbase.

Founded in 2020, Tag-n-Trac was founded with the goal of modernizing the entire logistics lifecycle. The company offers a full-stack IoT solution that integrates multiple modes of hardware, software and data technology to build smarter solutions that solve complex problems. The founding team consists of senior executives with engineering leadership experience in WiFi, Bluetooth, sensors and positioning technologies.

Tag-n-Trac says its platform offers complete, real-time visibility into the entire global supply chain ecosystem. The company’s technology combines low-cost “printable” hardware sensors and a sensor-agnostic software-asa-serivce platform to help shippers, logistics providers and manufacturers track goods’ location, status and condition from manufacturing to shipping to delivery.

The Tag-n-Trac platform, powered by wireless Bluetooth and cellular smart label technologies, grants a complete end-to-end view to help efficiently address production obstacles such as temperature excursions, tamper detection and potential diversions. Usable in various verticals, Tag-n-Trac works with supply chain partners, including multi-modal third-party logistics, enterprise resource planning, business intelligence software providers, and packaging and labeling manufacturers.

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Verusen Raises $25M in Series B Funding

Verusen, an Atlanta, GA-based provider of tools to manage materials for global supply chains, raised $25m in Series B funding.

The round was led by Scale Venture Partners with participation from current investors Glasswing Ventures, Flyover Capital, Zetta Venture Partners, Forte Ventures, BMW i Ventures, and Kubera VC.

The company intends to use the funds to accelerate its global footprint, and further build out its AI-driven technology platform expanding its reach in both the Indirect MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operations) and Direct Materials space.

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