Mister Beacon Episode #174
Safer Plates: Navigating Food Traceability and Safety with Julie McGillSeptember 05, 2023
Welcome to the Mr. Beacon Ambient IoT Podcast, in this episode, I speak with Julie McGill, the Vice President of Supply Chain Strategy and Insights at Trustwell. Get ready to dive deep into the realm of food safety and supply chain dynamics that keep our plates safe.
Trustwell connects the dots between food and data, enabling more control over products along the supply chain. We’ll shine a light on traceability and food recalls, where Julie shares the protocols and initiatives that ensure the food we consume is safe and quality.
Remember when the spinach industry faced a catastrophic wipeout in 2006? Well, other produce sectors (like Kale) certainly took note and strive for more traceability to help limit the real world costs of food outbreaks. We explore the Produce Traceability Initiative and the significant push for adoption driven by FSMA Section 204.
We'll unravel the complexities of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and its role in certain transactions. However, it's crucial to note that not all data points are covered, prompting the need for streamlined information flow (think about how credit card companies talk with several other entities for each transaction you make).
Discover the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), a hub for manufacturer data utilizing a one-to-many model. Changes in branding, ingredients, and more ripple seamlessly through this network.
What about Blockchain? Julie lays it all out – while blockchain and traceability are related, they're not synonymous. Timing is a critical factor, especially when it comes to preserving the quality of perishable goods like food. But does blockchain guarantee interoperability and solve all issues? We’ll find out the answer and much more on this episode of Mr. Beacon!
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Steve Statler 0:00
Welcome to the Mr. Beacon podcast. This week, we are going to be talking to Julie McGill, who is a Vice President of supply chain strategy and insights at Food logic, which is part of trust well, so we'll be talking about the food chain, we'll be talking about traceability and food safety. And we've spent quite a lot of time on that. But for good reason, as technologists, no one buys our technology just for the sake of it. We have to find markets that are driving adoption. And this is a market that has a lot of drivers for new technology. Focus is essential for solution designers and entrepreneurs and businesses of all stripes. So we believe that this is a really interesting area to look at. And let's face it, we all eat food, and we want to know where the food is coming from. And on this week's podcast, you'll learn a bit about what's going on behind the curtain. We'll be touching on the use cases, the technology, the standards, a few of the controversies, and Julian McGill happens to be a great conversationalist, and she has some hidden parts to her past that you might never guess. So stay for the second part of that to hear a bit more about that. But before we move on to that interview, I just want to say a few words about a sad subject. This show is all about IoT. We're a podcast but I'm a podcast enthusiasts not just as a producer of a podcast, but I listened to a bunch and one of the staples of my diet for many years has been Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin toe falls, Internet of Things, podcast, Stacey on IoT. She's great writer, she's an ex analyst. The chemistry between the two is amazing. And so I was very sad to hear that it's the end of their podcast. So I do recommend that people delve into that. There's a lot of back episodes that have some very insightful interviews and observations and some great conversations. And I heard this news when I was cycling home from the office. And then when I heard Stacy talk about her recommendations of other podcasts that you could listen to, and she mentioned this one, as potentially recipient of the baton. from people that listened to their podcast, I was really, really touched. I was quite emotional, he almost fell off my bike. So if you are listening or watching this podcast, the results of that recommendation, thank you for giving us a try. And thank you so much to Stacey and Kevin for producing an amazing body of work. And I am deeply touched that you recommended people to this podcast. So let's get back to business. Let's get back to Julian Miguel, I think you're going to enjoy this conversation. We really lift up the covers and look what's happening in this rapidly moving driver for the adoption of IoT, which is food safety, food quality, food traceability. Enjoy. The Mr. Beacon ambient IoT podcast is sponsored by Wiliot, bringing intelligence to every single thing. Julie, welcome to the Mr. Beacon podcast.
Julie McGill 3:47
Thanks so much. I'm glad to be here.
Steve Statler 3:49
Well, we've got a lot to talk about. We're going to be peeling the proverbial proverbial onion or unpacking the Russian doll choose your metaphor. I want to talk about food with you we all eat. So it's relevant to absolutely everyone, even if you stumbled on the podcast. But the business of food is fascinating. And it takes a lot of technology, software, auto ID technology, IoT technology and food logic, which is the company you work for, which is part of trust well, which is the outer part of the onion, just to get back to my metaphor is dealing with a bunch of interesting companies, some giants Chipotle and McDonald's and Tyson and so forth. And the use cases are quite varied. So let's get into it. And how do you explain to people who trust well are?
Julie McGill 4:51
Yes, so trust Well, you know, our company is all about food safety and compliance for both the food and supply limits industries. And so in the fall of 2022, as our research which has the Genesis platform, which is nutrition facts, panels, allergens, ingredient statements, we became you know, we came together to form trust well, and so you know, we have the, the, you know, the recipe and the facts panel, etcetera, coming together with food logic, which is supplier management. So all the documents, audits, assessments, everything that we need, you know, all that paperwork to do business, right? Prove to me that you are who you say you are, this is Fairtrade organic coffee, right? I've got to give you all that documentation and provenance to back it up. Food logic also has incident management. So as things are moving through the supply chain, back of my store, I open up a box of tomatoes, and they're moldy, right, I can open up the app kick off an incident. And and, you know, get that item replaced, report the problem, and things like that. The next part of the food logic platform, we have a recall management tool. And so we all know recalls, right? Time is of the essence. And so using phone, email, and text. Companies can build templates, because, you know, class one, we got to get things off the shelf right away, right? Class Two, class three. And if for any of them, we need to get things off the shelf, but you need to notify teams, give them instructions on how to you know, do I destroy it? Is the distributor going to come pick this up? You know, what do I do with this item, etc. And so the tool has a whole set of templates and communication protocols. But then it has a dashboard that collects all the information. And you know, with most things with the FDA, you have to show your work. So you can you print a report that shows here's everywhere that I you know, who I contacted, what I sent, the all the actions that were taken. And the neat thing is it has you know, different parts of the dashboard have things like a heat map that shows, okay, I've sent out the message. And then as the clock is ticking, things are turning yellow and red. And you're understanding Hey, why isn't this group, you know, taking action, and you can do escalation procedures, and all sorts of cool things. But the piece that I knew was food logic, when it came to food logic, what I knew them for was traceability. And that really was the origin of food logic, when mad cow disease was happening up in Canada, the founders of food logic created some tools to track all of the head of cattle. And so from that first product that they created, they said, Wait, we could use this for tracking food across all foods in the supply chain. And so that traceability platform is where I really intersected with food logic because I was working at GS one at the time. And the standards that the food logic traceability platform is built on our GS one standard, so things like Global Trade Item Numbers, global location, numbers, critical tracking events, and things like that. So the food logic traceability platform, can track foods, you know, literally from farm to plate, capturing all those critical tracking events, connecting the dots, if you will write of all of that disparate event data, using things like lat numbers, those global identifiers, and things like that, so that companies have full visibility of their supply chains, and are able to, you know, utilize that data, not only for compliance, for things like trading partner, traceability programs for man, federal regulations, like FISMA, 204. But also using that data in your own four walls, right? You have better visibility to your inventory, freshness, you know, even product satisfaction, right? So so it's it's interesting bringing these two companies together here at trust. Well, we really complement one another right? This this, this was not two similar tools coming together. It was two very important parts of the supply chain operations coming together to form one company.
Steve Statler 9:36
Yes, and I think this is a interesting because again, we all eat food, and we want to let find out what's in it, and we also want it to be safe. But you know, this podcast comes its roots are in auto ID technology, IoT technology. And that's great. It's really important to understand that technology. GE, but on its own, no one's gonna buy it unless there's an application. And I've become very interested in food, because it's driven by so many important drivers for adoption of the technology. And so we should probably get into how what you're doing is driving the kind of auto ID technology that we tend to focus on. Yes. But I think without companies like food logic, that it's very difficult to sell an RFID tag or Bluetooth tag, barcode printing machine, just in the abstract, you need powerful applications that have got budget and adoption that are really unlocking value, and you create an unlock value. And, you know, can hardest budgets to be spent on the kind of cool techy stuff, there are a lot of us on that side of the house late, too late to sell. So, so many things I want to ask you about, but maybe we should start off with adoption of the kind of platform that you sell, and how pervasive is it? You know, what are the alternatives to someone saying, Look, we're going to do this properly, we're going to buy a platform, and just cobbling something together with a few. I don't know what people do if they don't buy food logic or something that is in that category? Do you have a problem with people say, Oh, we don't really need to automate this? You know, hopefully, the FDA won't ask too many difficult questions, and we'll never get a recall. Is that, is that a problem?
Julie McGill 11:44
Well, and I will say, like, traceability drivers over the past, you know, I would say probably the past 1520 years have been varied, right? Many of the traceability programs either came out of an outbreak, right, so the produce industry, in the early 2000s, had a number of outbreaks, that the FDA and other parties, they could not figure out the source of the problem. And so entire categories were decimated. So spinach would be a good example, right? Spinach outbreaks back in like 2006. They've never recovered, they've never gotten back to their same numbers. Part of it was, you know, because they couldn't identify, you know, which products if you remember, everything came off the shelves, everything, companies who had nothing to do with the issue, right, their products were pulled off, you know, along with everyone else's. So you think about things that we now focus on today, sustainability, waste management, and things like that, you know, not having the visibility forced, you know, this just cleaning of the shelves, but also hurt an entire industry. And so, you know, I like to joke that, you know, spinach hasn't recovered because kale jumped in and said, Hey, I'm good for you, too. Now, you know, people can argue kale versus spinach, but
Steve Statler 13:12
kale, it's a formidable anthy.
Julie McGill 13:14
It's a bit rougher than spinach. I'll say that too. Right. But, you know, big picture that industry had to take, they took action, and created something called the produce traceability initiative, which was focused on product identification, and lot level traceability. And the reason for that is because the produce, you know, companies said, we can't go through that again, right, if I'm a tomato guy, or a lettuce guy, etc. You know, companies, literally, companies can go out of business overnight, if something like that just takes away their entire, you know, harvest and so they recognize they needed to take actions. So they came together as an industry created the previous traceability initiative. Other drivers have been things like trading partners, right? So we've seen trading partners like the Chipotle and Chick Fil A's and C, Ke and others who said, well ahead of government regulation, for traceability. I want to have whole chain traceability in my supply chain. And we also see that in grocery, right, like both, you know, in the food industry, so So those drivers, right, they've brought their trading partners to the table saying, here's what I need you to do with why. And for some produce, they're like, Oh, I'm already doing that great. What you know, let me do that. But other categories, you know, perhaps the meat had some pretty good traceability programs in place. But you know, the, you know, see the mustard or the buns or whatever some of those other categories, the French fries might not have been as aware of, Hey, why do I need this right, and their partners had to educate them as to why they needed them to be a part of this program. And for many they made it a mandate. So I was contractually obligated to do this to be your supplier,
Steve Statler 15:06
do you find adaption of your platform is being driven upstream or downstream? Is it being driven by the customer facing businesses or by the producers?
Julie McGill 15:19
Great question. So, so before FISMA, 204, was finalized, most not all, but most were the end of the chain. And they were saying, I want to have, you know, full visibility, my supply chain, I want to understand where my products are, and you know, be able to manage traceability and things like that inventory, they, you know, they can use it for inventory management, other things. But there were some partners who were doing it the beginning of the chain. And now with this material for we're seeing more and more customers coming in from across the chain, right, because now I have a regulatory mandate, where I have to collect enhanced traceability records, I have to do this enhanced traceability record keeping, and I'm trying to figure out, how am I going to capture this data? Where am I going to store it? And for many companies, their data sits in lots of different systems. So they want to bring it all together. So they've one version of the truth, right, here's all all those records and then be able to run reports for compliance be able to extract that data. And for FISMA, 204, that's within 24 hours, right? So, you know, in our platform, you can put in, you know, whether it's I'm looking for cucumbers, and here's the date range, and maybe I even have the lock code, I can literally pull that data in seconds. Right. And so that, you know, that driver now is where we're seeing more adoption across the chain. Before it was kind of, like I said, more focused at the end of the chain, because partners were demanding data from their suppliers.
Steve Statler 16:59
And we've had a couple of episodes where we've focused on FISMA 204. And Frank Yanis, most, most recently, arguably, the architect of the rule from the FDA has was just done. But, you know, I think his perspective would be from the designing the rule, you see the implementing of the rule, because it's your tools that are being used to manage all that data. One of the things that really surprised me as a relative newbie to this area, is that supermarkets, at least my understanding is they tended to sort of have a assumptive model about what's going well, I just assumed that they knew everything about where everything was all of the time. And it really seems like they don't, they may know what gets shipped from the distribution center, theoretically, at least. But the kind of the record of what's actually in the store is, at least for some very large ones, then is kind of assumptive you know, we assume if we shipped it, it arrived. And my understanding is that's not adequate for FISMA to have for Is that correct?
Julie McGill 18:18
Right. So, to date, most companies we're tracking, here's what I need, right? And so I need a case of this, I need, you know, a jar of that, etc. And that's true both for restaurants and for grocery. Now, with FISMA tool for, it's, it's not just the item, it's I need the lot, you know, a lot information for each of those items. So if I get three boxes of lettuce, there might be three different lots, right? Or two different lots, maybe two of the boxes, you know, are a lot a and one box is lot Z. And so that piece is the big differentiator, because when you think about tracking products, at lot level, if I have a truckload of product, and I understand what's on each and every pallet, I can do that with paper. And I can do that with electronic forms today, right? palette number one is lot a pallet number two is maybe a mixed lot A and B. I can track that very easily. But once I cut the shrink wrap and boxes or going to the store or to the restaurant, that is the point where you have to figure it companies have to figure out how am I going to capture that data. And that could be through. Some companies are arguing Well, I can do that using the information from my slot. will usually slots in a warehouse had two pallets in them. Oftentimes those two pallets have different lots and replenish. I have a couple boxes leftover from a third pallet that are now in that slot. So I can give you a ballpark. Right it could B, A, B or C. And maybe there's a D, because there was a mixed palette in there. But I can't be precise, right? Because I don't know exactly what the selector chose. If I use line of sight scanning, or if I use RFID, or if I use even some of the vision tools, those can tell me, Hey, I saw you pull this box, or you told me you pulled this box. Right, right. And so that's where some of the issues come into play for what you just described, right? I know approximately what went to the store. But I don't know for sure. And we've even run into that, for example, a lot of companies that were early adopters of tech enabled traceability, if you scan an order selection, that's great, you're in the warehouse, I scan the boxes, and these are the order that's going to store number 123. But while I'm on the truck, I walk into the store, or maybe the the the store, before I get to you, I realized they're completely out of tomatoes. I didn't they didn't order any tomatoes. So I'm gonna pull one of the boxes from your order, and give it to this store. I know I delivered tomatoes. But if I don't do any sort of tracking, I have no idea which box of tomatoes went to store? One, and which boxes of tomatoes, right, I knew what was headed to store number two, but one of those boxes never made it. Right. So depending on if you do at order selection or point of delivery, right point of delivery says I'm standing in front of the back door, these are the boxes that went in the door, right? Yes, that's different. So that's
Steve Statler 21:40
why we have critical tracking events as to use the FISMA. To have for vernacular, we have critical tracking events, where you need to ideally be scanning or capturing in some reliable way accurate way. What's shipped, but also what's received. And do you have a sense of what proportion of food retailers and restaurants, grocery stores are scanning everything that comes in the back door today? Which is presumably well, they're going to have to do for when the when the rule goes, starts being enforced in January 2026.
Julie McGill 22:21
So I don't have numbers on that. But I can say from experience, that whenever possible, we integrate with inventory management systems. So if your teams have a handheld of some sorts, right? Yes, we will integrate with that. Because that act of capturing the order as it's, you know, coming in the door, you're doing inventory management, and you just keep on doing that, but also send us that data, because the traceability of that that's a receiving now where there are challenges with that a lot of for example, a lot of restaurants have night drops. And so the driver comes he unlocks the back door, I put some boxes into the ambient area, some go in the fridge and some go in the freezer. You know, those may or may not have been scanned coming in or you know, when the staff gets there in the morning and receives those items. Because sometimes the drivers actually put product on the shelves, some leave it in the middle of the cooler, and then the person who comes in make sure that the order was correct. So depending on what agreements you have with your distributors, you may or may not be able to collect that data with line of sight scanning, but I could capture it with some sort of RFID scanning. Right,
Steve Statler 23:39
right. Yes. So that's very interesting. Let's just wind it back a little bit, because I feel like we didn't do your company justice in explaining the level of the breadth of customers you have how many customers does trust trust, while have how many customers does logic? I know,
Julie McGill 24:02
I have to apologize, because I don't know the exact number and I should have looked that up for you. But you know, it's what I will say is it's it's the it's a very impressive number of just the breadth of companies, especially, you know, I'm the Genesis side of our product. It's everyone from academia and dieticians, to large QSR grocery stores, CPG companies and everyone in between. Because when you think of labeling, there's not only product labeling, but there's also menu labeling requirements, right? And there's regulations that are in place that say, you know, restaurants have to do XYZ and have this menu labeling available. But they also need that information for their websites. Right. And so the tools on that side of our business, calculate all that information and so that piece of our business, I'm not 100% sure you know what the numbers are. But there's there was quite a bit of overlap of folks who were Genesis users that also were a fluid logic, customer. And so that was a nice, you know, that was a nice compliment. Like I said, because these, these two platforms address different parts of your business operations.
Steve Statler 25:27
Very good. Well, according to your website, as I look at it, then there's 120,000 Plus locations that covered obviously, that's, you know, many more locations than restaurants, but it's, it's quite a few customers anyway. Many hundreds. So you have some pretty good visibility, what would you say the readiness is of the industry for FISMA are all done and dusted. Just adding a few dots on the I's and crosses on the T's?
Julie McGill 26:02
I will say from personal experience. And this was true, even pre FISMA tool for there are certain categories that I had mentioned earlier that had business Reasons to Adopt enhanced barcodes, and other data, you know, AI DC technologies. So the produce industry produce traceability initiative, every time I walk into a warehouse, whether it be for a grocer, or abroad liner, etc. When we walked down the produce aisle 85% of those boxes are already marked with the GS one 128. And so what's my you know, I'm so happy to see this because I used to work for GS one, and we use GS one 120, we can accept us while 128 to your food logic. So I'm so excited to see them. And then my first question is, do you use gather lot information? Do you use those dates to manage freshness? Do you scan these codes? And most folks say nope. Yeah, where they do scan, this is one of the other categories that's been using it for a long time, proteins and seafood have been using GS one 128 for a very long time. One of the business reasons for that, beyond a lot information etc, is that a lot of those products are catchweight. So I sell my boxes, steaks by weight, I sell the the tuna, you know that whole tuna by weight. And that's how I get paid, right? So I have that information on the box. So that when when I deliver that box to you, you understand box them box A was, you know, 150 bucks, and box B was 200 bucks. And the reason why, because of the weight, right? So so proteins and produce have been using it for a long time. For FISMA 204, where we've got a lot of education to do are the nut butters, shell eggs ready to eat salads, some of these categories that just they haven't had any event or driver, bringing them to traceability. The other thing I will say is that there's a number of scenarios that we're going to have to figure out how to address. So a really easy example is fresh herbs are on the list, you're very few restaurants that get a whole case of cilantro, for example. Usually fresh herbs come in these great big boxes, you open it up, and there are bags inside that have sleeves, six leaves of cilantro, or it'll have two inner packs. Right. So you order by the inner pack, not by the case. And so in my experience, I have seen some herbs that the bags have a 128 label on them. They certainly could have another data carrier, right if the partner chose to use that. And then I've also seen where you open up the bag, the box and none of the bags are marked. Right all there's nothing on there. So distributors are going to have to figure out how do I gather lot level information for those break case items? Because break cases of reality in our supply chains? How am I going to capture this data? So that's because
Steve Statler 29:15
a lot of work to do to label to marshal the data in order to label and then there's the question of what's my automatic identify carrier, I'm going to use am I going to use a 1d barcode am I going to use RFID and we're going to use ambientale T. And each of those has different pros and cons. But I'm kind of interested and it all costs money. You know even a barcode costs money because you need to organize yourself around printing it and it's you know, and people costs to scan them. Whereas some of the other ones there may be more infrastructure costs but less people costs. So it's all gas money. So the question in my mind is where does the money come from to do what is at the heart of what you do, which in my mind is supply chain visibility, one of the things that you, your company enables is visibility of the supply chain. And it can be used for all sorts of things, you've already enumerated a bunch of them. But I'm looking at a lot of the food safety organizations, and I'm guessing they don't have millions and millions of dollars of budget for this, I could be wrong. And so I'm interested in what your view is working for a company that sells software, presumably, you like being paid for that software? Who is it that is funding these traceability projects? And how does that get unlocked? How do you get people to say, well, it's the right thing to do.
Julie McGill 31:00
Right. So what I will say to that, first is that, you know, for most companies, this can't just be a food safety or a traceability initiative. That's just right out of the gate, right, is they have to address other problems, usually operations is a group that, you know, keep it simple. Please streamline you know, our processes it Oh, and by the way, I'm resource constrained, right? So whatever you can do to make our operations easier, more accurate, right? When they are willing to, you know, explore those options. Oftentimes, you know, we see a whole host of folks coming in because the IT team wants to know what's going on, and they usually have influence, they might not be the one writing the check. But yeah, operations usually is a very, you know, they may be the ones that are the final decision maker, but they are relying on input from all these other teams, because food safety needs it for this purpose, logistics needs it for this warehousing needs it for this at cetera. And those could all be part of one business, right. And so that piece is very interesting. And I will say from a food logic standpoint, I like to say that we are data carrier agnostic. So I will take whatever you choose. And so GS, one 128 has been prevalently used, that's where most folks are, you know, able to scan today, but with a barcode stamp that is just a standard barcode. We call that a 1d. But lots of folks are interested in using 2d and we do have some folks using 2d So that'd be like a data matrix, or a QR code that can hold 2300 characters, that's a whole lot more than 128 can only hold 48 characters, it's not a lot of information, then we get into we do have some customers at Food logic who use RFID. And so it's, it's frictionless, you know, we're using radio frequency. So no more line of sight, no more staff members standing over a box that won't scan, we are you know, either using stanchions that are you know, at the dock door, or the back of the restaurant, and, or supplemented with things like a wand, etc. So even though you might have a staff member that has to go into the cooler and do inventory, it's literally taking seconds, you know, if we do the the evolution clipboard, okay, they're gonna be in there, they're gonna get cold before they leave the freezer, you know, line of sight scanning again, they're gonna be in there for a while. RFID, you know, totally different ballgame. So it's been interesting for us, because we've had to do a lot of education with solution providers to make sure they understand, here are the components that we need to create those critical tracking events, in order to do whole chain traceability. Once you get that piece in place, regardless of what data carrier they're using, van, it's a matter of, okay, how are you going to then implement that across your supply chain? So like with RFID, we've had to educate our customers who are so excited about this technology. And it's a great technology, but I've had to explain to them, you can't just get rid of that 128 label and go straight to RFID. Because there's always going to be someone in the supply chain, who doesn't have RFID yet, right? Yes. So you need to have the label so that a human can read it, scan it, et cetera. And then for those who have RFID capabilities, the readers can pick up the information. And that's been a learning curve for a lot of companies who thought oh, I can just I can get rid of the old and go straight to the new and it's like they actually need to live together for a while, right as as the industry starts to adopt these new technologies,
Steve Statler 35:06
well, that gets me on to another topic, which is the exchange of data between the different players in that supply chain. And whilst you know, there's FISMA doesn't require you, the retailer to know absolutely everything about where the food came from, you do need a source light ID right. But we're facing more and more need, it seems to me, at least, for there to be more exchange of data between Suppliers and distributors, distributors and retailers than ever before. And how is that? Or a Is that true? Do you agree?
Julie McGill 35:53
I agree. Yes?
Steve Statler 35:57
How that people people approaching it.
Julie McGill 36:00
So for the foundational piece, you know, FISMA, 204, I like to break it down into three buckets, right? There's product data, there's location data, and there's the events, right, critical track events. So that foundational piece, right, the product and location data, that doesn't change very much, right? I mean, it does from time to time, but that's foundational data that trading partners need to be synchronizing. We talked about the GDSN, right, synchronizing that data, sharing that information ahead of time, and most partners in supply chains today have some sort of supplier portal supplier management, right? We have those tools here at Food logic, where you're gathering all that information, right? Tell me about this product. Tell me about these locations, the event data is dynamic, right? It's, it's ever changing. You know, it's it's order to order its product to product, etc. So, you know, that information, capturing it and sharing it today, we do a lot of that today, with orders, right? I'm sending you a truckload of my lettuce to the distribution center, here's the advanced ship, you know, you've sent me a purchase order, I'm sending you an advanced ship, notice, you know, there's at the door, there's going to be an inspection and they're going to check the load and make sure it's what you say it is. And they're going to run their temperature checks and all sorts of things. So today, we gather a whole bunch of data about these transactions. But that that last piece of, you know, traceability lock code, and the lock code source, which is a new piece of information that we have to capture, there are some additional pieces of data that folks just were not capturing in those transactions. And now they need to add that to the dataset, as well as part of their operations, right? The person who's receiving it needs to make sure are these things present? Right? Did we get things? And so you can do that? electronically? Right? You could have systems manage that. You could have people manage that, are you or a little bit of both?
Steve Statler 38:07
So what are the systems that people have been using? And you think we'll be using to exchange that data? We had a interesting conversation last week at the FISMA tour for working group at GS one about that BCAAs Yep. And I, you know, full disclosure, I'm biased heavily in favor of EPCIS is the company that pays my paycheck with the ambient IoT player. We collect things like temperature data from the tags and humidity data, and we want that to be passed up and down the supply chain. And no way is that going to get passed up and down on a barcode. So we will see EPCs. But I have concerns about whether and I think, obviously GS one wants people to use EPCs. It's a new standard, and that's the business that they're in. And presumably, I assume that you guys, you folks are in favor of it, because it's you know, another reason to use a proper system, like the one that you sell to exchange that data, but where do you see we are in the adoption of EPCs? And I'm just interested in your thoughts about
Julie McGill 39:26
that. Yep. So EPCIS which I think is you know, for the listeners to understand, you know, it's a GS one standard for exchanging data they have a whole host of transactions that can be exchanged, and this is different than traditional EDI. So if we take a step back, you know, in a lot of our food supply chains, trading partners are using, you know, Edi today to manage certain transactions, but EDI He does not manage all of the, they're not EDI datasets for all of the critical tracking events, for example that have been identified and FISMA tool for. And so EDI serves a purpose. And, and I think that there's companies are going to continue to share information using EDI, because that's how I tell you about what's on the truck and what's coming, et cetera, you know, and I can add additional attributes and send that information. However, once we start start talking about, you know, sharing, traceability data, and those data sets, and, and it needs to go from system to system and, and all of that, companies need to think beyond EDI, right. So whatever my role is in the supply chain, shipping is just one little piece of it, right? If I'm a manufacturer, I receive things, I transform things I ship, I might, you know, do some other activities. So when we get over to EPCIS, number one, it has all sorts of other uses, which we want to get into. But the other piece is when we talk about systems and trading partners, food logic, for example, was part of some pilots that we did with GS one us with the seafood industry. And so there were a number of solution providers. We had a retailer and then some suppliers. So the solution providers were food logic, IBM Food Trust, right bio, I think whole chain was a part of it. And then the retailer was Walmart, and then the suppliers, we had beaver street, Bumblebee, chicken of the sea. And so gathering data, right, so so for those critical tracking events, the capture of the information about the products that we were exchanging, and then sharing that data along the chain. What we knew was the solution providers all knew that we could use EPCIS to share data, we knew it would work. The part of that by law that took the longest was the data gathering from the partners them actually going back in their systems and pulling the data. So we know that as companies are getting ready for this regulation, that's going to take a long time, right to understand, Where's all this data sitting in my system. But getting to the data exchange with EPCIS. We recognized for example, you know, that, for example, food logic, and IBM were making a handshake during the pilot. And one of the things that we we kept pointing out, as part of our findings was, hey, we're all known entities, sharing data, you know, in this in this pilot, what happens when we're not known entities? Right? And I need that information. Number one, how do I know that I need to go to the Food Trust, to get data for this partner, and I need to go to ripe to get data for this partner? Then the second piece once I do get to the right door? How do we make that handshake that says yes, you know, I, you're you're approved to share data with, right, so similar to the GDSN, which we don't have a GDSN for traceability. You know, how are we going to do that choreography. Data less than data sharing? Yeah,
Steve Statler 43:31
codes on the table, I believe in the need for this hub or network to do that exchange, I think it's something that we as an industry have to come together to put in place a little bit like I mean, think about the credit card networks, maybe don't like them. But that's the the the lubricant that has enabled commerce between parties that don't know each other, I can have a credit card that's issued by a bank, and the bank of the retailer can be a completely different bank, but we can do business together. And it streamlines everything. And I really think we need something like that to exchange this EPCIS data. In my opinion, it needs to be something that a lot of the main players have joint ownership, and we can't just hand the keys over to one company that's going to be in the middle that probably needs to be some choices of different networks. And those networks need to be funded by a lot of the players that have a lot to gain from from doing all this. So that's my soapbox moment. Yeah, have to see whether it's going to happen. But
Julie McGill 44:40
I will tell you just from a historical note, those conversations have been happening since the inception of EPCIS.
Steve Statler 44:48
How about I can I can believe it, and I realized, you know, thank you very much for kind of wanting us back and explaining in in normal English, what we were talking about that if anyone's in interested then there is a Mr. Beacon interview with Dominic Gennady who was one of the key people in the definition of EPCs. Him and many other people as part of the GS one standards work. And we have an interview with him on that, as well as digital wincan Melanie noose, also another different one player. So there are a lot of resources there. So, let's see, I did want to ask you a few things. Oh, yes. Blockchain. I know I saw that food logic has participated in a blockchain trial. I don't know when that was started. Is it still going or any, any, anything you can share about that?
Julie McGill 45:46
Now, so we, we now we are cloud based, multi platform, we have done like I said, we've done interoperability pilots, with some of the blockchains, Blockchain partners, etc. What's been interesting with Blockchain is that you know it. You know, companies were at one point, interchanging blockchain and traceability. They saw them as one in the same and they weren't understanding what blockchain actually was. Right? And what it was. So now that we've had the evolution, there certainly are there are great partners out there that use blockchain as their technology for you know, storing traceability data. However, I will say just, you know, in, in industry adoption and use, as well as what we've learned about blockchain, just as a whole, not in food, but just in as a whole. You know, is blockchain the right technology right now, considering you know, the amount of energy that you have to generate, to even produce the, you know, blocks in the chain? And also, speed to market? Right? When we talk about the food industry? Timing is everything, right, that lettuce, the minute you cut it from the field? It's, it's withering correct. And the clock is ticking. Yeah. And you need to get it to your trading partners as quickly as possible. And in some of our early work, it's like the blockchains. Just we're not able to handle the volume and the speed at which the data needed to become not only committed to the databases, but then shared with other trading partners. And so you can't have that lag, right. No, I will say, that then brings up the question of data quality. And certainly, you can have bad data in a blockchain just as quickly as you can have bad data in the cloud or in your own back end systems. So I think if we exchange the idea of companies certainly can be flexible on the technology that they choose to store their data. But you need to be vigilant about having good, clean, accurate data.
Steve Statler 48:07
No, I completely agree. And I think blockchain doesn't guarantee interoperability, in actual fact, it creates some challenges. And that's what people want visibility, interoperability, and obviously, you have to have data integrity, but I think you can have that in other ways as well and
Julie McGill 48:26
get on your first set. And I will say, too, I think what we've seen with that interoperability piece and integrations, which are so important with this, is lots and lots of companies food logic included offer API capabilities, right. So our entire platform is built on API, you can put things in, take things out, you can do that with products and locations, and events, and all sorts of things. And so, you know, recognizing that this data is valuable, right. And so if you put your program together, in that you're collecting good at clean, accurate data, that you're checking for compliance, right, you're validating that all of the required fields are there, that, you know, if it's a G 10, that it's got the right check digit, if it's a code list, right, we've got the right values, that data quality is so important, because then you can use the data for all those other, you know, things we've talked about. So, you know, using it outside of that food safety compliance piece, and and taking it to other teams, right, finance, marketing, inventory, et cetera, and challenging them and saying, you know, how would you like to use this data? Right, because it's, it is valuable information. We've even had trading partners. As natural disasters have happened. They looked at their trade traceability data as part of a larger data set to make decisions on where are we going to ship product, what stores are we reopening in? Things like that. I mean, it's really powerful information.
Steve Statler 50:04
Very powerful. So unfortunately, we've got to wrap up at least this segment, we've got another segment that we already recorded, which I think people will really enjoy. You've spoken with greater authority. And I think people will understand why if they listen to the second part of our show, but before I go, I've got to ask you about a certain Netflix documentary called poison. You know, I think everyone in the food business, it's been on their radar, I assume you've seen it. And if you did that, what did you think of
Julie McGill 50:37
it? So I have seen it and I will share a personal story with you. So I have a nephew who, unfortunately, got Ecoli poisoning. He, when he was 18 months old, ate some hamburger that was not fully cooked. He wound up in the hospital, he had a two s, we have had a kidney transplant and a pancreas transplant. So Oh, my goodness, the combination of the storyline of the baby in the hospital I've been there it is. It's heart wrenching. And the teenager, so the girl who ate the salad and bed she talked about, you know how she got so sick. So from that Ecoli event, from childhood, my nephew couldn't play sports in high school, because he was on dialysis. He had, you know, all sorts of health issues that he had to overcome. And it really, you know, to see the film, you know, people have their opinions, some people think it's the worst thing in the world, something, you know, there that they didn't tell the whole story. What I will say is that in that film, we saw two people's stories, and they very accurately told their stories. And I think if, if people were aware of how many other stories are out there that are literally families, waiting for a donor, that's a horrible, horrible place to be, because you can donate you and I can donate a kidney, and we still have one, you know, that we can use. But if you need a pancreas, you're waiting for somebody's child to die. And that is the horrible place to be. So I am very much a crusader of food safety, I'm the person at the family event that they get mad when I tell them, they have to throw the potato salad away, because it's been sitting out too long. So, you know, I, you know, everyone gets a thermometer for a meat thermometer for Christmas, right? Like, it's just, you know, it people can choose, right? Lots of people, you know, you know, it's a choice every day of, you know, what am I going to eat? And how am I going to manage it? But I think, yes, the film definitely, you know, brought to light some of the things that consumers need to be aware of, but also, you know, things that that that have happened in our supply chain. And so, you know, I'll end with this since we're doing this podcast is, you know, we have made great strides since those things happened in technology, in AI, DC, right, in software programs, et cetera. So that, you know, I see part of this challenge is being on us, right? How do we keep that from happening to another family?
Steve Statler 53:45
I know. Yeah. And it was absolutely heartbreaking. I think it is an important movie for people see, it obviously has an agenda. They're trying to drive pull on people's heartstrings. But the facts are the facts. And it gives you empathy with the tragedy, the impacts people, and you can make your own judgment as to whether they were fair on the companies and the people that are depicted, but I think it's really important movie. Poison is the name of it. And Netflix is the is the channel. So Julie, did you manage to come up with three songs that are meaningful to you?
Julie McGill 54:26
So I did. So a little known fun fact about me is that I like to sing jazz standards. And so I will do this in bars in Chicago or at your wedding or Yeah, family events. So my go to song that I usually sing any, you know, anytime I'm singing, it's called, do you know what it means to miss New Orleans and it's an old song that was sung by you know, folks like Rosemary Clooney. Me and, you know, Ella Fitzgerald and you know, jazz greats like that. So yeah, so that's a fun fact, some of my co workers know that. But now everybody on this podcast.
Steve Statler 55:11
I love that. Yes, he's a first for us. I'm super impressed. super impressed. So is this like, you know, once in a blue moon, are you out there regularly crooning?
Julie McGill 55:24
I was regularly crooning before COVID. But then after COVID, you know, we got to get our musicians back on stage. So, so I've not I've not done it at a bar. But I have sung at friends. Weddings. Yes. Since COVID. So, yes,
Steve Statler 55:41
that is awesome. I am now thinking of a good opportunity to ask you to sing at some event, just to really shock everyone. Exactly. All right.
Julie McGill 55:56
Well, that's number one. Number two. So my mother was a music teacher. And so she played the piano and other instruments. And she had the songbook. It was called Songs in the 70s. And she played all the songs. So a song that's a favorite of mine is Stevie Wonder's superstition. Oh, yeah. Where I first heard that song was my mother playing it on the piano. And then when I heard it on the radio, it's like, what? Yeah, that's all different. All different thing. So yeah, so superstition is on my, you know, top, top of the list.
Steve Statler 56:33
I love that. It's one of the incredible musician. I've actually been getting, like many middle aged people getting back into vinyl. And so I'd been buying old Stevie Wonder. Vinyl. And, and it sounds amazing. Sounds amazing.
Julie McGill 56:48
Yeah. Amazing to to see how, what influence he's had how many people sample his music how many people have re recorded his songs. You know, there are songs that people think oh, that's John Legend. It's like no, no, that Stevie Wonder. Right. So it's, yeah, he's, he's amazing. Already, totally amazing.
Steve Statler 57:10
Go away. Well, it's number three.
Julie McGill 57:12
So number three, I was thinking about this. And a question that I like to ask folks, is what was your first concert? Right. So which is a fun question. And so my first concert where, you know, went with my friends was the stray cats. And so the song that I chose was rock this town, which anytime I hear that, you know, I can't not get up and dance.
Steve Statler 57:37
That is, it was so funny, an American band or British band. They were big in England.
Julie McGill 57:43
You know, I don't know the answer to that question. I think I would have to look that up. But that whole rockabilly Aedes, you know, thing and they were just, you know, yeah, they hit the scene and it just, you know, it's it's fun music. So yeah, so that's my third one.
Steve Statler 58:03
Awesome. I love that question as well. And my, my first concert was Thin Lizzy at the Hammersmith Odeon. Obviously Phil Lynott, still alive. And he did an amazing job. And I have to I was pretty young, I was in my kind of mid to early teens. And I remember being, you know, London, in that must have been in the 70s. Kind of a bit rough, so that a lot of people with long hair who thrashing around in the audience, but it was amazing. And I. So anyway, yeah, thank you for triggering that nostalgic feeling. So I'd love to hear just a little bit about how you got to the role that you have at the moment. And I was kind of snooping out. I didn't realize that you you were a veteran of GS one. Before that. It looks like you again, and I think you're known for being you know, an author and authority in our industry and not and not shy in, in coming forward speak. In fact, I, I really lost the other day. We were, I think it was in FISMA 204 Working Group meeting was fun to GS one. You said I'll just fit me with a lapel mic. And so I'm assuming that this side of your character started started early. If I'm right in saying that you're across president.
Julie McGill 59:37
It's Yes. And I was class president. So there you go. So, so yeah, so my food and beverage career. I started at Coors Brewing Company out in Golden Colorado, which is a beautiful facility and just a really interesting company and I've worked for them before they merged with Molson Coors, sab, Miller, any of that. So it was still family owned brewery. And the neat thing was, they were self sufficient. So they did their own malting. They made their own bottles and cans they had they worked with ball Corporation and had facilities on campus. You know, I would drive to work every day. And you could tell by the smell, what point in the brewing process we were at, right, so if you, if it smelled like cereal, right, we were roasting and malting. If you know it, you know, you could tell when they were brewing and things like that. So all the way through to when they would clean out the tanks and, and they would mass the take the leftovers and mash it into pellets, and then the farmers would pull up and bring their trucks and then take that away for feed for their animals. So it really wasn't a really interesting company to work for. And one of the neat things they did that really helped open my eyes to manufacturing was you had to take a class that was called corps 101. And you learn every single job, like you were on the brewery floor, you were at the plants, you did a ride along with a driver who was delivering product to the stores. You know it you just saw every part of the business. And so it really was interesting to see that now I was in the IT department. So I was working on early days of collecting data from our distribution partners, and a number of retailers were starting their EDI programs. So they wanted to do electronic invoicing, and things like that. And so they were all they were asking you to have all the breweries and so we didn't care which solution you chose, we just needed you to start sending EDI messages. So, Miller, Anheuser Busch and Coors were all helping their distributor partners get ready for that. And and so that's really where, you know, from that, that it side, I moved into, you know, just master data, you know, data gathering. But my boss left cores to go work for this internet startup called Trans aura. And trans aura was a company that was funded by manufacturers, it was going to be this data hub, if you will. And so they had master data, which we now know as the GDSN. They had coupons, they had logistics, we were doing C PFR. We were going to be everything to everyone. And slowly but surely, you know, the things like the GDSN came about. And so we were one of the first data pools trans or UCC net, and others, and then eventually the merger started and UCC net, which was owned by the Uniform Code Council, and then eventually GS one us, they purchase trans aura so that now that data pool is now one world sank, so if your listeners are familiar with one Whitesnake,
Steve Statler 1:03:13
oh, so that's, like one of the biggest sins. So just for people that don't know, what's the GDSN.
Julie McGill 1:03:21
So the GDSN is the global data synchronization network. And so I started working for trans aura in November of 2000. And so at the time, there was this idea of how can we get manufacturer data where it's a one to many model, and so that manufacturers have one version of the truth. They load all their data into this network, and then trading partners. It's a publish and subscribe model, trading partners can access that data. So I load all my, you know, crackers, and cookies, and chips, and whatever else I make. And then trading partners who are requesting that data can request either data directly from me as a supplier, or if if they want to put out a general request and say, I'm looking for chips, cookies, whatever, in the US, like you can really narrow or have a very wide request. And then in this network, there's something called the Global registry. And think of that as like the traffic cop who's directing the traffic. So requests come in. And I don't need to know where this data lives, I make a request, I'm looking for chocolate chip cookies. The registry takes a look and says, who has registered chocolate chip cookies, oh, these 100 companies, they forward that request to those parties. The parties take a look and say, yep, I want to do business with this partner or No, I don't know who this is. And then once you make that handshake to work to release data to share data, the partner receives it, they decide what they want to use. and keep and from that point forward, once you do the handshake that says, Yes, I want to synchronize on this item, anytime there's an update, if I lower my sodium if I if I change my corrugate, if I rebrand, etc, any and all updates get sent to every single partner that has subscribed to that item. And so the beauty of it, I don't have to remember, oh, I need to send it to Steve, and I need to send it to Bob and I need to send it to sue. Nope. You know, the network manages both the connecting partners, and continuous synchronization.
Steve Statler 1:05:35
I'm particularly useful if Steve Bob and Sue have online stores where you
Julie McGill 1:05:41
know, that product changes in how companies use the data is. It's like a hockey stick as far as growth, right? Because where we started was order management systems, mostly things that were behind the scenes. And then companies started adding online ordering platforms. And they had platforms, for example, in food service, right, my my restaurants can order from my distribution platform and things like that. And so connecting all this data, synchronizing it, sharing it, et cetera. Now that has moved into images. And when we were doing images, it was old school planograms. If you remember, like the old school, Apollo software and things like that, now, right, everything's got to be 3d, I've got to be able to spin it around and see that nutrition facts panel and the barcode and this and that and connect to additional information about maybe it's organic, or Fairtrade, and all that. So, you know, the, the dataset that we started with, and where we are today is like, it's like you're on two different planets.
Steve Statler 1:06:47
We're thinking we're working on this browser for the physical world, which it's a mobile app called Living web. So it's not on the app store yet. So don't look for it. But hopefully, it will be by the end of the year. And the idea is you point the camera at the product. And basically, you can get metadata about that product superimposed over their AR image. And so we're what we're thinking is, well, we could just pull those 360 degree images from one of these GDSN repositories and use that to train the the AR. So that's how the app recognizes the product. Let's see if it works. But that's the theory. So GDSN is like a GS one standard for that master data. It's just fake. And then you go to different services that make it available in your geography, is that
Julie McGill 1:07:42
right? So so there are standards for the attributes themselves, there's a global data dictionary that defines all of the attributes. There is choreography that is required for data pools to share data. And I'll I'll talk about, you know, the data pools are the parties that provide the service. So when we talk about the global data synchronization network, it's kind of like our cell phones. I choose my cell phone provider based on what equipment they offer, right? What phones do they have, what programs do they have? Same thing is true for the GDSN. I choose my GDSN data pool, based on the services and the support and the tools that they provide. Once I'm in the network, it's very similar to cell phones, I don't need to know what data pool you're on. What I need to know is, tell me what your corporate Gln is, there's something called an IEP or an information provider Gln. Once I know what that is, you and I can start connecting on that on the GDSN. And so the neat thing is just like cell phones, right? What's your number I can call you, I can text you, I can, you know, do different things. But the parties within the network, know how to the data pools know how to talk to each other. They follow certain choreography, and they are certified, they go through a certification to be a data pool. And so there's I can't remember what the number is. But there's, there's, you know, I would say probably upwards of 60 data pools around the globe that are managing this data.
Steve Statler 1:09:17
Very good. So you ended up at GS one through acquisition
Julie McGill 1:09:21
through acquisition. Yep. Yep. So we were a data pool. And then I I worked with a number of of accounts, they threw me at the beverage guys because I came from beverage. So I managed, you know, all the sodas and juices and beer and all those different things. Because I understood the whole direct store, you know, DSD model, and so I worked with a lot of them, but I had a lot of CPG companies that I worked with as well. And then once we merged, that's at the time when the food service initiative was just getting started at GS one and so They asked me to join that team. And I worked on that project until I left GS one and 2017. So helped, like stand up the food service initiative, help companies understand how to utilize barcodes because if you think about food service back in 2009, they weren't using much identification at all, not even IETF, fourteens and UPC, lots of boxes had nothing on them, really. So helping them understand how to use GS one identifiers. And then Ramnad, it was it was using the identifiers using the GDSN. And now we're working on the traceability piece, which was always part of the vision of that initiative. So GS one US has a food service initiative, and they have a grocery initiative and those to work hand in hand to you know, help industry understand how to use, you know, identify products capture data, and then share data.
Steve Statler 1:11:06
And how did you end up going from GS one to food logic IQ,
Julie McGill 1:11:11
right? So, you know, I had, I had reached a point I had been at GS one trans aura for over 16 years. And I very much enjoyed, you know, working with lots of different companies learning lots of different things, right? Because you'd be switching from, you know, beverages to meet to produce cetera, and really enjoyed it. But one of the things that I missed was manufacturing. So when I started my job search, I was if you'd asked me back then I was 100%. Sure, I was going back to manufacturing, because they were really enjoyed my time at Coors Brewing. And so I started my search. And when I started my search, I was reaching out to all my contacts, and I had reached out to food logic. And so I'm talking to my my colleague, Andy Kennedy, who worked with GS one quite a bit. He was one of the founders of food logic. And so when I reached out to him, we had a conversation. And then the next thing I knew I was interviewing for a role at Food logic. And so I went from helping industry create the standards. And now I work for a company that implements the standard
Steve Statler 1:12:25
for very good, very good. And did your time at cause turn you into a beer connoisseur? Or was it like too much beer? I never want to see another pint again?
Julie McGill 1:12:35
Well, a little bit of both. What was interesting is at the time, you know, all the micro breweries and the micro craze really hadn't started. But it Coors their master brewers, they at the time, were making brown ales, pumpkin ales. That's when they invented I was there when Blue Moon was introduced. So they had all these beers that people did not understand. Right, what is this? And they had a really neat program where they made seasonal beers that they only sold to restaurants in Denver. So they'd make a couple kegs in their microbrewery of say, a Christmas ale. And then certain restaurants would have that available. And so I learned to love all different kinds of beer working there. But the beer craze, Denver had quite a few breweries before I left but when I moved to Chicago, there was one microbrewery here. That was 23 years ago, there was one microbrewery here, and it was Goose Island. And now there's hundreds of micro breweries in this town, which is really interesting, because Chicago was a beer city, like it had a lot of brewers and, and as did our neighbor Milwaukee. So it was interesting to come from that beer culture to a city that was, hadn't even started. So I actually, you know, there, there's quite a few. For example, throughout the city, there's, you know, you can go to a bar and get English beers or Scottish, you know, you can get German, etc. So those were the places that I would seek out when I needed my, you know, whatever I need to, you know, a Belle Haven or whatever. Just satisfy that. But now, now they're everywhere, right? I could walk to one of my neighborhood.
Steve Statler 1:14:31
Very good. Well, I feel like, I'd like to pull a pint and sit down and talk to talk with you some more about this, but we both gotta go. Yeah. So I want to thank you. I've, you know, this has been delightful, wonderful conversation. Thank you very much.
Julie McGill 1:14:47
Yeah, it's been great. Thanks so much, Steve.
Steve Statler 1:14:50
So, thank you very much for listening. And maybe you're watching this episode. And you are a remark full person, because most people don't stick to the end everyone. Most people have the attention span of a gnat, somebody that I battle with myself. And we try and dig deep in these podcasts. And this was a good one, in my opinion, at least I've certainly enjoyed it. Julie is a great raconter and an amazing authority and you understand why given all the jobs that she has had. So please do stick with us. We've gotten an incredible archive of interviews with CEOs of many of the startups that driving innovation as well as some of the giants are both standards bodies and companies like Cisco and Google. And whilst I work your way up, we give 100% of the advertising revenue from any of the adverts you've had to put up with to the monarch school for homeless kids, which is an amazing nonprofit. So I'm sure they are grateful to you for the pennies that you've contributed. Hopefully we can get enough to go in this becomes meaningful. So until next time, thank you and stay safe.