Mister Beacon Episode #143
Understanding Serialization Platforms with Max WinogradJune 28, 2022
Does your product have a soul? We are heading into a future where more and more things are getting digital “souls” or IDs these days. We are talking about an identity that transcends the life and even the second life of a product. It’s a compelling concept, as it unlocks waste reduction, product safety, regulatory compliance, efficiency and new revenue models.
Max Winograd’s team is competing in what is a very strategic market, the provision of cloud systems to manage the soul of every product in the world. Anyone interested in IoT applied to digital identity using RFID, Bluetooth or barcodes needs to know about this.
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Steve Statler 00:00
Welcome to the Mr. Beacon podcast, you may be able to hear some seagulls in the background. That's because I'm standing by the, the Gulf of Finland. I caught COVID It was really horrible. But I think I'm gonna live. And I'm glad for many reasons. And not trivial is it? I've been looking forward to this particular conversation with Max Winograd, who runs the atma.io team. It's a startup within a Fortune 500 company at Avery Dennison. And serialization is really a critical thing in terms of what many of us do in IoT, but it's a huge strategic applications area. It's like the ERP system of the future. And there's a lot of interesting companies playing in that space. So we get to talk with Max, who's a co founder, he's going to tell us the history of hours formed what it does dispel a lot of jargon and myths, you'll get an understanding of the boundaries of what serialization platforms do, what they plug into what some of the use cases are, what some of the customers are, that are using it, as well, of course, as bit about Max and his taste in music. So enjoy. The Mr. Beacon in the podcast is sponsored by Wiliot, Intelligence for Everyday Things. Well, thanks for doing the podcast, it's surprising that it's taken us this long to do this. But I'm glad we are.
Max Winograd 02:00
Likewise, Steve, great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Steve Statler 02:04
I've got COVID. And I'm stuck in a hotel room in Helsinki. And it turns out, this is where the Helsinki Accords were signed. Anyway, I wanted to have this conversation with you because I think I think it's super interesting what you're doing. And I wanted to talk about a handful of things. One was, you're the co founder and the chief executive of Atma. So atma is doing some really cool things. So I wanted to explore that. One of the cool things about Atma is it's a startup, but it's part of a Fortune 500 company. And I wanted to explore a bit about what that means. And obviously, there's some advantages, but there's also some challenges. So I wanted to talk to you about that you're doing you've got a big focus on sustainability circularity, the work you're doing with Adidas and carbon accounting, I wanted to get into that. And then lastly, a for our Easter egg section at the end that I wanted to talk a bit about you. So sound Okay.
Max Winograd 03:14
Sounds good. Okay, so what is atma.io? Tell us tell us landrace. So, usually, when I'm talking about what it is, I always start with what atma means. The word itself. Yeah, that's great. Because usually, we were wondering if it's an acronym or wouldn't stand for is a Sanskrit word for sol, sol. And we have this belief at Avery Dennison, that in the future, every physical item will have a unique digital identity and digital life. And if you think about what a digital identity is, in relation to a physical product, it is a soul. And that's because it's something that can be given at the point that that product is created, but then exists throughout all the changes a product goes through through its journey through a supply chain while it's being used by a consumer. And while that product then goes through end of life or onto its second life. And there's this one common thread that persists throughout a product's life, and it's second life and so on, so forth. And that is its unique digital identity or its soul. And regardless of whether it's part of a case, whether it's part of something that gets made together with lots of different inputs and ingredients, you can find this one persistent thing. And that's really where the concept of atma began is let's create a sole for each product and then make that information about a product soul available to everyone in the in the entire supply chain, consumers, suppliers, retailers, regulators, so that we can really unlock the potential and power of connected products and really turn products from being these things that are the creators of waste today, to being the enablers for sustainability tomorrow.
Steve Statler 04:52
That's brilliant. How much of that was a post rationalization of the name you chose and how much of it Did you think of upfront, that's just incredible. They're the kind of having a soul. That's a point of continuity. As you have a second life, I had never really thought about that. You told me about the Sanskrit thing when you formed the company, but I didn't know about the Second Life and thought through the second life things.
Max Winograd 05:18
Yeah, I cannot take credit for it. So it's actually one of my colleagues, pretty buyer, who has been someone who's been very helpful in helping to kickstart the on my journey. So pretty much actually gave us the name of atma, helped us understand really all the implications of the word. And then as you started to peel the layers of what that could potentially mean, in relation to a product, it started to really click as something that could really be that true self of the product, because you're dealing with fakes and counterfeits, right, you're dealing with so many other things that are happening to a product that to the state of it physically, but then you need to have something that's still its true self. It's real identity throughout this entire process. And so it really does, it really does fit and the idea that you know, after end of life that can persist, again, because you want to track where the product ended up, or how did it get remade into something new. And because a product itself, its raw materials can be reincarnated to so many other things. And if you think about upcycling, and so on, so forth.
Steve Statler 06:18
So cool. So Is he one of the co founders, because you're a co founder, who are the other founders.
Max Winograd 06:24
Yes, so the other we have two other technical co founders, Michael goal er and Mario Cata, such who jumped on to the app my rocket ship back in October of 2019, when we first started kicking this off as a new initiative within Avery Dennison, and specifically within Avery Dennison Smartrac, which is the division that's been pioneering what we call intelligent labels. And looking to really expand upon that from not just intelligent labels like your RFID, NFC or even BLE technologies like helping to commercialize Wiliot, battery free Bluetooth, but also into digital identification technologies more broadly. So it's not just the physical trigger that might go onto a product to help identify, but also helping to manage all of the data and information that gets generated by a product as it goes to the supply chain. So it's this wonderful combination, really helping to bridge the physical and digital worlds together, and very much in the same spirit that we see with with Wiliot out and what we're enabling together with battery free Bluetooth and intelligent sensing.
Steve Statler 07:26
So what's the founding story? I mean, that the atma story, the naming story is amazing. But I mean, when I first met you, you were doing due diligence on Wiliot as the lead on Avery Dennison, this venture. And how did you get from that to to hitting up at MoMA?
Max Winograd 07:51
Great question, Steve. Maybe I'll start back to the beginning of the career because it was it was sort of a boomerang in one in one respect. So the first part is, right out of school, I started my first company so started a startup company with two co founders, technical co founders, we were looking to pioneer sustainable materials for packaging. And we built this business over eight years raising venture capital and strategic investment ultimately sold the company to all Tana 2 billion euro German coatings and then conglomerate. And at the time, I was looking at new opportunities, and thinking about new projects to start. And Avery Dennison came calling with a really unique opportunity, which was to help stand up their corporate venture capital fund or their CVC at a point where they were really thinking about how do we disrupt ourselves. And the idea that innovation is broader than what happens within internal r&d, but also much about external focus and really thinking what's happening in the ecosystem where we can invest in partner with entrepreneurs, new technologies, access new business models and new markets, and really look at how to expand how we're innovating as an organization. So I jumped at the opportunity to to join the company and help start this corporate venturing journey with the team. We then built a great team of investors and other partners in the ecosystem. And about a less than a year into my time at Avery Dennison I found myself in Israel sitting across the table from tall and the rest of the founding team and Wiliot, at just a really unique time for us as we're thinking about as Avery Dennison, that vision where every physical item will have a unique digital identity and digital life. Now that digital life if all you know is the identity of the product, that's not a very long biography of the product's life if you will, right if you think about all the other details information you can get from it by sensing different attributes and conditions throughout the product journey then you have a much richer set of data that you can act on as a supply chain as consumers as brands to really operate in a much more connected and sustainable way and really drive traceability as well as richer consumer encounters and so it was with that that we had an opportunity to first join and partner with the Wiliot AI team and also some great invest yours as well. And shortly thereafter, the boomerang came back. So I was I went from being a builder as an entrepreneur with my own startup to then being a buyer or an investor, if you will, with a CVC fund. But then in 2019, we were looking around the ecosystem. And we were thinking about the role that we need to play in helping to enable that vision of every item having unique digital identity and digital life. And we saw a unique opportunity to stand up our own platform, which became the bio connected product cloud to help manage all of that product data that comes together from all those different sources of information, whether it's existing systems like an ERP and things like that to the actual on product triggers, whether it's BLE, that's sensing information about the product or RFID sensing, its its existence in inventory, or NFC and others that are using it to authenticate the product and all that data coming together in one place. It's easily accessible, and can really drive more sustainable outcomes with more data that's then turned into better information. And so really, the circle got complete when I had the opportunity, then go back and actually set up a start up but actually do it within Avery Dennison and leverage this global footprint that Avery Dennison has serving as the market leader for UHF RFID really understanding what drove adoption and segments like apparel, and retail, we're seeing a lot of activity already over the last several years with RFID. And seeing how that opens up in new segments. So let's leverage that knowledge that the access as well to customers that are really trying to transform their supply chains. And together and let's co create technology and new products that ultimately will help achieve those objectives. Right, they're all looking to drive, better sales lift, they're looking to drive better profitability throughout their supply chain, they're seeing such disruption these days in their supply chains, that the better ways of the containment with more information about how to operate more efficiently is tremendous. And then what most importantly, is really helping to drive those sustainability outcomes. So understanding what their actual carbon footprint is for a product and for their entire supply chain, giving them the tools to actually start to do stuff about that as well. And that's really helped that kind of full circle one to then back in the venturing world and actually standing up a startup. But as you pointed out, it's really a unique opportunity to do so inside of a fortune 500. And alongside really the collective value that you can get by having the types of channel access and market insights that Avery Dennison can provide.
Steve Statler 12:22
So Avery Dennison, when you first came to it was the leader in the smart labels, business RFID, and NFC and so forth. But that's sort of a moment in time you buy the label, that's it, and you don't really get to be part of the products journey with atma I, oh, then you are there you have a much, much more continuity. And I guess it's a very different business model, though, isn't it? On one hand, you hear you're kind of selling materials. And then on the other hand, you have recurring revenue stream, I guess it's actually a really good business model to get into your valuation. As a company goes up, if it becomes a significant part of the business, whose idea was it to do this? I don't
Max Winograd 13:21
think we can trace it to any one person whose idea it was. But I will say that in 2019, we had sort of going around over email and text was this hashtag, hashtag, just build it. So this idea that this isn't something that we can outsource, to consultants to build for us, this isn't something that we can just go and find the perfect company that's working in this space. It's such a new field. And there's so much work that needs to be done to really build a platform and an ecosystem around digital identification and around connected products that we saw a unique role that we could continue to play to your point, really pushing our capabilities into the software and the digital realm, while looking into new revenue streams that really can kind of help capture all the value that can be created if you actually think of providing the full package of what can connect the product, the physical trigger, and also then the data management as well. So seeing those things come together as a tremendous amount of value creation being created. And so it also changes how we think about how do we capture value, and it does create opportunity for new things like SAS business models, as well as service or outcome driven business models as well, which also helps align our incentives. And between supplier of technology and user of technology where we're really in a position to actually help them unlock the value and as long as they're unlocking more and more value. That's how we can also capture more value.
Steve Statler 14:45
And you decided to build it from scratch. I mean, you had some opportunities to acquire. I mean, Avery Dennison bought Smart Track and they had I think the smart cosmos or something like that, that they so you could have But that I guess, why did you decide to build it from scratch? We made
Max Winograd 15:05
the decision. So we had a team that actually looked at and evaluating all what was out there in the marketplace today in a way to really understand what does that landscape look like for potential partners that we could work with? Well, we made the conclusion of hashtag just build it, it was really based on the fact that we saw that there was a real gap in the market from a technological perspective, but even just a true implementation perspective, at the end of the day, these supply chains are incredibly complicated, global, and really relying on several different stakeholders coming together to truly make that digital transformation that supply chain happen. And to really do that it's not just about having a nice piece of software, which is a key part of it. But that's not the only part, it's really being able to be that end to end solution provider and solution delivery capability to be able to turn on 360 suppliers for a global retailer for food and apparel, while at the same time turning on all the different manufacturing locations for a global apparel brand, all of their distribution centers all of their stores. And before you know it, you have 6000 sites in scope, that you need to actually have some way to capture data from scanning barcodes, or RFID, or other types of digital triggers. And being able to use those individual data points as part of this much bigger data picture you're trying to create. But it requires because at the end of the day, we're still connecting physical products, there still is that need to be in the store in the DC in the supply chain at the factories in the raw material suppliers, helping them actually implement the technology in a way that can drive these outcomes. Because up until you got the data in the platform, or you got the data coming off of these products, you're not actually enabling that value creation part. So there's a huge emphasis for brands really to help them figure out how to get started and so many of them are so early in the journey. There's a stat I'll end with C, which is that there was a study done by being that looked at where traceability programs are for major brands and retailers and of 150 different respondents. 58% of them said that they were either at the thinking about what to do stage. So really like sitting there with like a blank sheet of paper, some initial ideas, but nothing concrete to doing proof of concepts and proof of value demonstrations. So not even at the word pilot yet 50% of these respondents are still really just starting out how to get started with these programs. So we saw this mix of sort of gap in the marketplace in terms of product capability and delivery capability, and then just a thirst and a need for help getting started. So getting people on that adoption ramp towards traceability, because so many of those in the marketplace still don't necessarily know where to start or where to start relative to the value they can capture once they have everything connected and digital identities and souls for all of their products.
Steve Statler 17:51
So much that we can talk about here that there's a few things, so many things I want to get to, we should probably just clarify a bit about more about what the platform is and what it isn't. Can you kind of paint a verbal architecture diagram so that we can understand what the boundaries are of what you do? And don't do?
Max Winograd 18:15
So on my own, at its core is a connected product cloud. So think of it as the single platform where you can store and manage all of the data related to a product at the item level. And item level is an important operative term in that description. Because you have lots of systems that are already out there that are doing a lot of management that SKU level or the order level or the PIO level, where they're managing things like in an ERP all the attributes of a product or in your WMS system helping to link the actual order fulfillment attached warehouse
Steve Statler 18:48
management, right, exactly. I can sort of broadly accounting system, and WMS. Okay, so thank you don't
Max Winograd 18:58
bring me out of the alphabet suit of of supply chain IT and infrastructure. Steve Yeah, we what we're doing is connecting to existing systems that are managing data at the SKU level. So another way to visualize that pun intended, as you think about an eye chart, when you're going to the eye doctor SKU level is that big letter E at the top of the eye exam chart where it's really big, and usually you're able to see it if you've got the right vision on. Then when you bring it down to the smallest letters in the chart at the very bottom that's at the finest font size. You can't read that as a supply chain data because you don't have item level visibility, you're only able to see that big letter E up top. And so we're adding a new lens onto the supply chain with item level visibility and with our platform, and we can serve as an item level system of record. And the reason why that matters is let's say, see, we're both wearing black polo shirts right now. That black polo shirt may be of the exact same SKU we might both be a size large about it from the same brand and the same season. However, we live in different places. We're going to use the product differently. We made this I had to give a product a second life or not, depending on what we're the product is in its lifecycle. And whether it can be, you know, given another life by being recycled or turned into something else, once you go to the individual journey of a product, diverging, that's where it will become so important and so critical. And the idea of having an item level platform is really what's needed to unlock some of these sustainability use cases. And the ability to authenticate products, all those things need to happen not at the SKU level, but actually at the individual item level. And that ultimately creates the opportunity for the most unique consumer interactions as well, or item level can help create the picture I'm communicating with Steve, not with just the owner of black T shirt size large now, so amaz role in that is ultimately capturing all of the data that gets generated through the products journey at the item level. So what that means is, the creation of that unique digital identity at the start of the product's lifecycle, usually when it's being produced, is essentially that first snowflake and a snowball of data, then we would connect it to the system. So like that ERP system that's helping to capture product attribute information, like the color, the size, its global trade identification number, or G 10. All that information can then be pulled into Atma, and associated with that unique ID we created for that specific item. And then every time the product has interacted with our stand, scanning a QR code, reading the RFID tag attached to it, or sensing the BLE sticker that might be on the product as well, all of those read events are creating moments where you can capture more data and assign that data event to the product. And that's unique digital identity. So for example, product was made, it was then shipped, it was received, it was packed in a case that case was then shipped and received. It was then inspected, it was then sold, all of those individual steps are happening at the item level. And then that data all gets captured and not my Oh. And then we can push that information to other systems that might be looking for information about analytics of their product supply chain of their inventory availability, figuring out where they're anomalies and things like that. So we're basically a source of ingesting data, as well as connecting data. And then we're able to also then share that data. As it gets, I think a little bit more refined into information back out to various systems, whether they're using business intelligence tools, like Power BI, or other things where they're helping to get just data from various sources, we can be a data source in that sense. And then we can also help really try to take all the information that we're capturing and make sense of it as well ourselves and be able to identify, Okay, here's what's actually happening in the supply chain, that are probably your top three or four biggest problems that you might want to pay attention to, while you're seeing millions and billions of pings on a map at any one point in time in a global supply chain.
Steve Statler 22:43
So huge database, you've got the birth certificate, the VIN number, the license plate, this unique identity, you're accumulating lots of information about the biography of this soul as it goes through the manufacturing process for distribution process, the sales, the ownership, maybe a second life. But it's not just data in it's also data out. So you're bringing connectors to all of these different enterprise systems, I guess that will get bigger and bigger as time goes on. But it sounds like there's also applications as well. So it's not just middleware, you're actually delivering apps. Is that true?
Max Winograd 23:29
It's a good mixture of both applications that we're delivering, as well as applications that we connect to that we partner within the ecosystem.
Steve Statler 23:37
Is it more of the latter, you're more kind of a?
Max Winograd 23:41
Yeah, by volume, it's definitely more of the latter. So in terms of the number of applications that we've created ourselves, versus the breadth of this sort of App Store, if you will, of things that are connecting to Atma, whether there are other software applications being built by other divisions within Avery Dennison, or by partners externally, that have seen the opportunity to connect the data that they're generating from one part of the supply chain or one individual workflow into Atlas part of a bigger story. And so it helps make it easier to kind of maintain the connectivity between existing systems and ours by having that sort of App Store type and sort of open ecosystem approach. I another way to think about it, Steve is actually like the Apple App Store, right? You've got on your phone, you can download the Weather Channel, weather bug AccuWeather tons of these different individual apps to tell you what the weather is, you also have the native Apple app that will also give you that information. And there's a few others that they've built. But then everything else was really built on this ecosystem of developers that have built technology, that together connected to atma can really unlock some additional business value for their customers, and then also for our platform.
Steve Statler 24:49
And I won't ask you to given a number of apps because we're all conditioned to expect the number to be in the millions and I'm sure it's it's it's you know, This is a different ballgame. This is enterprise apps. And it's focused on a set of domains. But how is that going in terms of integrations with third party applications, both information sources and the functional apps that sit on top?
Max Winograd 25:18
I'd say that it's a mix in terms of what we're doing with these application partners of being able to enable essentially like a next layer of a particular use case. And I'll give an example that in a second, as well as being able to help drive potential connectivity into some of our other customers that we're supporting. So for example, when someone connects to us for one customer implementation, let's say that they're operating retail software that then will connect data about the inventory in the store to Altmaier. They'll do that for one of their existing customers that we both together are working with. However, by having that then existing integration already underway within our platform, that then can be a story that they can then tell to other customers of ours, that are looking for other retail software solutions. And we can then say, well, we have already these native and integrated solutions alongside us that you can leverage. So we do that quite frequently, because people are asking us, if we're sitting in that center as that common back end platform for all the supply chain data, what systems do you work with, for the store or for the DC or for order fulfillment, or for transportation or for do your point earlier with with ERP systems for accounting purposes, so we can help kind of pull technology in to customers that we're already working with, as well as just make the value of whatever use case they're already using another technology solution for we can augment that. So going back to that example, I mentioned, I would I would share, when we connect to say a retail inventory solution, the retaliatory solution is really focusing on driving the best profitability and sales lift opportunities with inventory accuracy at that location. So that's called store for the purposes of this example. Well, by pulling in data that's happening throughout the rest of the supply chain together, the data is more than just the one plus one equals two, it has a much higher multiplication effect, because now we can connect information coming from the factory or the DC to understand what's the true dwell time of a product. And then in the supply chain, which factories are producing the products that generate the most returns in a retail environment, which products are most likely to be returned within a particular window of time based on either the dwell time or the carbon footprint of the product or some other data attribute that we can slice as a as a screen or a filter. And so it's about really taking two systems together that are attacking a common problem, connecting them and then being able to really overcome that problem for the customer together in a much more holistic and data driven way.
Steve Statler 27:49
Can you give some examples of the apps that you've integrated with already?
Max Winograd 27:54
Yeah, so one example is we've we've done some integration work with some specific RFID software, the essentially the the customers were already using to generate data and RFID value in the stores. And so we connected that system to ours, because we were getting data coming at source when the products digital identity was being created and assigned in that first step. And then we've also then enabled the connect with other DC software, as well. So an example of that as a software solution actually built by another division with an Avery Dennison. That's pioneering identification solutions in the food and logistics segments. And those solutions. One is in the store that's called Zippy Yum, that's really driving inventory management in a food service and food retail operations. And then also their solution in the distribution center, which is called case verification, which is really taking another point of data generation that can exist in an RFID enabled supply chain, and actually then doing that data capture in the distribution center, and then using that as additional data sources to drive better traceability and item level visibility for the entire supply chain that's utilizing that technology. So it's, it's sort of expanding the value creation for RFID by them combining these different software solutions, and then also then looking at different applications that are happening at the store, to what's happening to DC. And so if we take that food example, then what we're doing is really creating the opportunity to drive the most freshness for the customer as the end outcome. Because we're understanding the inventory within the store. We're tracking dwell times in the DCS and better item level visibility and animal actors in the DC so that that shift from being a first in first out supply chain can then become a first expiring first out supply chain. And that really becomes a very compelling story for consumers that are looking to ensure they're buying the freshest ingredients or the freshest food and a restaurant or QSR quick service restaurant. And this ultimately becomes the data solution, both application and back end platform to really unlock that that freshness capability
Steve Statler 30:00
So the user interface into Atma, what would you say the split is between a user interface that your team are writing versus a user interface from another application?
Max Winograd 30:14
It's probably about a 5050. Split, Steve, I think that what we see is some of the larger enterprise customers have their own dashboarding and reporting systems where they're looking just to get lots of different data feeds into. And so in that sense, it might not be our interface. Or as another example, we may be connecting to a brand's already developed mobile application. And so they have their own mobile app and example is one of our customers for the last few years, they actually are actually driving the user experience using their mobile app, but then amaz, a data source into that mobile app. And so you as a consumer may be scanning a QR code on a product to register it and give it a second life. And without knowing that you're actually also connecting to Atma and actually leveraging that digital identity of that product to help drive the recommerce of the product, but you won't necessarily see the atma component. And then we also I think, have a lot of activity underway with where we actually are that common interface. So you can sort of access just like you're using with your phone with the Appstore model, you can access one common portal and all the different front end applications that you might see in your enterprise that you're leveraging a mix of internally developed applications as well as the third party integrations that you've already done or are doing.
Steve Statler 31:30
So you touched on the Adidas application, which I think I'd like to spend just a little bit more time on. Where is that at now in terms of its going from pilot to scaling? Can I as a user, download the added s app and know that some of my interaction is driving triggers into atma? Or what apps are you integrated with?
Max Winograd 32:01
The integration with the audit Apps Mobile App is all around enabling the infinite play initiative, which is the ability to take an existing registered Autodesk product and reselling it back to Adi. And in exchange as a consumer, you're given a voucher to then purchase additional product while giving you giving that product that you already sold or resold a second life. And so that program initially started in the UK. And then last year as part of their 2025 strategic plan, it just announced the global rollout that's going to occur over that strategic plan horizon. And the next markets have been North America. So Steve, once you get back from Helsinki, you'll be able to, to leverage the technology here in the US. And then they're looking at expanding that beyond into additional markets as well. So right now, the US is where infinite players now since expanded to since we started. But we're also working across other initiatives, either in the supply chain facing to the factories or to consumers in other markets. And what we're seeing really is 1000s upon 1000s of, of individuals are actually interacting with products that are ultimately connected to the online platform, because we are fortunate to count on all of iasis items actually sitting in the bio platform. So we're talking about billions of products that are connected, and consumers are everyday 1000s upon 1000s of them are actually interacting with these products either to learn more about the product or to give it a second life or they just see a code and they're curious, they want to scan it all that's helping though, to inform audiences as well as others that might be leveraging the platform, sort of why are consumers interacting with products and what outcomes are being driven by those interactions, which can just make the consumer brand relationship become that much more strong and personalized, just because you have so much more information that can drive you as a brand to understand what information is going to make my consumer more likely to come back and be loyal to me as a brand. And so starting with the sustainability initiative with recommerce Infinite play is I think sort of goes hand in hand with with that focus. But then also, it's really driving a tremendous amount of interest that consumers are having around certain products and around certain information about those products.
Steve Statler 34:13
Beyond enthusiastic about that use case, I think it's just amazing. And hats off that you've found a way to enable it. The whole idea of giving clothing back when it no longer fits you or you're bored of it or whatever, getting some value and being able to turn it into something else. I think it's a massive, massive idea. And it's so much better than keeping all these things in your closets. I mean, so many of us have closets and shoe lockers that are just bulging with stuff. And the idea of being able to give that back so that someone else gets some benefit is just really, really good, but it's a non trivial thing. But I think it's a great model and I can't wait to get back to the states for Many reasons, but you've just added that to my list as I have some prized beloved Adidas sneakers that I think I need to replace, hopefully, I'll be able to use the your, your system to do it. So you've kind of hinted at some pretty big numbers. I can only imagine it's gonna get stratospheric, but where are you at the moment? There's some stats that you can give us in terms of products that you're managing and that sort of thing.
Max Winograd 35:27
Absolutely, Steve, it's a great question. So we've now got over 22 billion products that are on the up my platform that are connected. So those are individual items. So that one, the pair of sneakers, you're talking about Steve, that would be one of the 22 billion, depending on how old the sneakers are, of course, because we go back years with Adi but not necessarily too far back. So hopefully, they're two things. Well, actually,
Steve Statler 35:48
I got my first pair when I was visiting had it cannot show up at it as wearing Nike, so I bought them. And then I bought another pair after that, because I really liked them. And I'm like, Oh, I keep from getting these.
Max Winograd 36:03
Yes, in addition to that, just the sheer number is also just the number of some of some of the large enterprise customers that we're working with. So we're working already with six of the top 20 apparel brands are using Maya, and four of the top 10. QSR is are also using the platform. And so the quick service restaurants, and we're working closely across not just the apparel and food segments, but also many others. So actually, later this month, we're actually announcing a partnership in, in the pharmaceuticals market, helping to enable item level asset tracking for critical assets, like samples or test results or unique therapeutics, and being able to then have a digital traceability platform through a partner. And this is an app store model again, while also then being able to tap into a market where there is just a critical need for that level of visibility at every step of the supply chain.
Steve Statler 36:58
Let's talk a bit more about use cases and vertical markets then. So we've talked a bit about apparel, you gave some amazing results on in terms of penetration of QSR, which is an important part of the food market. It amazes me given the FDA has been banging away about modernization and traceability. How far behind we are given the stat that you you the Bane stat that you quoted, it seems like the FDA has been saying, Hey, we can't throw away every leaf of lettuce when someone gets salmonella in one part of the country. And yet, we're a long way from getting there. What Why do you think that is? Why? I mean, is that right? Is the food business really way behind and traceability? And what does that mean?
Max Winograd 37:53
It's a good question, Steve. And it's less about which segment is behind another segment, in terms of rolling out traceability, but it's really just about just really unpacking the sheer complexity of the problem and the sheer complexity of the solution implementation. If you think about food, use, let's start with the source. So you're typically talking about a farm of some kind, or a grower where they're actually kind of growing the raw materials or the individual ingredients or the food product, before it then gets processed. So you're usually out somewhere in the field, it's not necessarily going to have the best Wi Fi connection or the ability to have infrastructure to go out and actually individually tag every unique item. But you need to start somewhere. And so the idea of having some kind of lowest common denominator, whether it's the case, or the lot, or the crate, or something that clamshell of produce, whatever that might be at the source as the point where you can actually initially create that unique digital identity in association with a product and then add that to your point, capture all the different attribute information, its expiry date, things of that nature that can then be attached to the product. And then as that product goes through the process of being produced, in general into a finished goods sold either in a market or a store, or in a restaurant, all of the data that follows that product can then be there. But now you're talking about different companies, because usually you're not seeing a fully vertically integrated supply chain in most industries. And so as a result, you have to get the grower to want to install technology and leverage it, what's the value to them, that's different than the value that gets created for the restaurant or the retailer, that also was looking for that information. Because if you think about that process of the recall, and who that impacts, it's, it's not just one part of the supply chain, but ultimately is many different parts. And so it's ultimately really enabled traceability to exist, you have to get all the different areas of the supply chain, to embrace the technology that's being used to generate information about the product, as well as you then have within those companies themselves various functions that have different roles to play and run. Without connected products or doing an implementation or integration. So you may have the digital team sitting at the retail or the brand of the restaurant thinking this is fantastic, I get all this information, I can then share with my consumer to share, you know, personalized recipes or recommendations or new loyalty initiatives, because I have much granular information about the products that they're buying. And the consumer can maybe opt in for some of those. So that data sharing, well, that necessarily doesn't translate to someone in the supply chain that's thinking through well, how do I now enable a new workflow of scanning a product and associating its attributes to a unique digital identity, which might take a change in my my operations. And so you have to think about how you're creating value for all the different sort of functions within a business, and then all the different businesses within the supply chain. And I think, because there are so many initiatives that are underway currently, that they're worried about, it ends up becoming a very complicated problem to try to tackle. And it doesn't necessarily always get tackled. And it's not necessarily until someone maybe gets burned, or there's a specific supply chain disruption, the recall or a supply shortage of some kind, that then triggers the need to then actually take action, we're also seeing regulation start to actually play a role. So the Food Safety Modernization Act as a new rule 204, that's going to be laid out later this year. And that's going to have an impact on how we're keeping track of information on food supply chains, to be better able to operate, those food safety initiatives, when those do get triggered, whether it's a recall, or expired product, etc. But we see a trend of opportunity where the industry is asking for it, they need help and getting started because of the sheer complexity internally and throughout their supply chain. And we see pending regulation coming, so we're gonna have to do it. And I think that combination is what's driving activity right now. And ultimately, we think we'll see in the next couple of years, fully baked supply chains in the food industry where they have item level visibility, and it's going to help them understand the real magnitude of the waste that's being produced in the supply chain, and also how to take action to reduce that waste and then operate in a safer mode, because we're able to better react to recall situations and in a less wasteful way.
Steve Statler 42:13
So where is the momentum in food traceability? It sounds from what you were saying it's in the QSR space? Or are you also seeing big adoption in grocery with people wanting to be able to, you know, trace a tomato from the field to the store?
Max Winograd 42:32
I think we see it in all the different segments of the food market, because there are some common themes. It may just be different numbers or percentages, but there's some very common themes. One of them is there's a tremendous shortage of labor, whether it's in the restaurant or in a retail environment, where if we can, they're not going to suddenly change the head Canada store. And in fact, many of these grocery brands and restaurants are actually hiring like crazy because of labor shortages. But it's more about how can we help them with better accuracy shifts with jobs that they're doing on a day to day basis to things that are more higher value, add, then restocking or inventory lookups, and things of that nature or helping to automate some backup store backup kitchen operations. So there's a huge labor shortage across segments that we can help with item level visibility operate more efficiently, and that can help drive better outcomes for consumers. Then there's the element around freshness, where there's a hunger to be with your inventory to drive fresh food as quickly as possible into the hands of the consumer. And, and not just as fast as possible, as efficiently as possible, so that you're not creating excess of perishable foods, the supply chain that also has to get disposed of or donated. And ultimately, what we're enabling is better visibility, understand what products are where in the supply chain that then need to move because they're close to expiry, or because we understand what it how long it takes them to get to the unmarked, whether it being sold or used in a restaurant, or in a retail environment. So I think the common themes around reducing waste, optimizing labor, persist across and so I think we're seeing it happen in both in both areas. And the last point I'll just share is that the true quantity of waste is just not getting understood by many of these different brands, because they're starting to see kind of how the waste adds up. Once they get that item level visibility, and they maybe had some top down numbers before they were trying to do baselines around the waist, but now they're getting much more granular information to see how much waste there truly is. And so far, we're actually finding and so it's not because of one retailer is doing operations, one or the other, that we're actually finding that everyone is under estimating the amount of waste that they create in their supply chain. Everyone does, which is you know, as a citizen of the world and stuff, it's it's scary to think about but at the same time, it's as someone that's helping to drive a team of building technology to drive towards a more sustainable world. It's actually a great it's a great opportunity right? Close off
Steve Statler 45:00
All huge opportunity to climate change, huge, huge opportunity to save on cost. And so I mean, the estimates on waste are already pretty big. So do you want to share any numbers? Or is it just too embarrassing to put it other,
Max Winograd 45:15
I'll give an anecdote with with just some relative degree of of how different the problem was where there's an estimate that was off by a factor of more than seven acts of waste in the supply chain, where they thought it was a number, and there was actually more than 7x, almost 8x, that number, which, which is, again, it's good that we've actually learned that there's a much greater problem. And it's good that there's not even bigger opportunity than before to have an impact. But it also is telling that we don't necessarily know the full extent of the information, or the problem until we truly have accurate information about the problem that really needs to have a level of visibility, and that we need at the item level, if you will. So if you're just tracking overall orders, it's might be easier to see things slip through the cracks. But if you bring it down to the item level, that lowest line in the HR, then you can really get to low visibility on this is the actual problem I have now not the one I thought I had. And it turns out, it might be bigger, and maybe times bigger.
Steve Statler 46:17
It's what we see as well, when you start to actually measure the movement of products around in real time. So QSR, as you talked about the big picture drivers, probably many applications, but what is the is there a use case that's driving, you know, the lead pin for for QSR? To get going? Where are they starting? What it what are you working on?
Max Winograd 46:43
The start there is really around the inventory size,
Steve Statler 46:46
quick service restaurant, right? Yes, yes, yes,
Max Winograd 46:49
yes. So the big focus has been around that inventory, accuracy, and inventory management. So being in the restroom, starting first in the restaurant, but then because we need to also understand information about the product at the source, we're kind of attacking the problem from both ends. So the end of the supply chain and at the beginning of the supply chain, and then working to try to get the information captured every step of the way. And so what that means is we're working with the growers to generate the unique identities for products when the products are being first produced or grown and processed, as well as then ensuring there's technology in the stores in those restaurant locations that can actually be used to generate more information about the products in that environment. Well, how often they're being used, and how often or sort of inventory turns are happening. And that information together with the product data, we got it the source really unlocks the item level visibility that they didn't have necessarily before or lot layer level or case level visibility.
Steve Statler 47:51
And what are the bad things that happened in QSR, when inventory accuracy is off, I mean, understanding like supermarkets, you've got out of stock, which means you're you know, you can't sell something, someone's disappointed. But what happens in a fast food place,
Max Winograd 48:09
you know, big thing is gonna be waste at the end of the day, Steve. So you have a waste problem where you see waste in the supply chain being triggered by the fact that you've got a tremendous amount of, of inventory that has to move to lots of different locations. So you might have, you know, 10s of 1000s of stores that are being serviced with product that does have an expiration date, the majority of perishable items. And so you may end up with too much inventory, too little inventory. And you may not have the right amount of cheese to go with the buttons to go with the burgers to then actually create the meat, the cheese burger demand. And so there's different products that might be available or not, depending on that level of inventory accuracy. And ultimately, though, there's a waste element that they're trying to solve for so that they're not sending too much product to the wrong places. And then the product can't be used and has to be either donated or disposed of, as well as making sure that they're providing fresh product to their consumer, whether it's in the store environment or in a restaurant, there's still the same goal of happy customers and making sure they're given the freshest ingredients and the freshest food possible. Because if not, then you could end up with a situation we've seen with some quick service restaurants, where they're having foodborne illnesses and ultimately, the quicker they could trace back where that problem came from, the quicker some of the fallout of those events are into the brand's equity to customer perceptions. And so that's also I think, a real reason why there's a big focus. So it's the it's the waste from either overstock or the mismatch of certain items, as well as managing freshness which ultimately can manage the consumer relationship, the brand equity to prevent things like foodborne illness outbreaks from happening too fast within a particular restaurant footprint.
Steve Statler 49:51
So last business topic, the whole carbon footprint measurement piece, you guys made some announcements about that and I was really intrigued? How can you assess the carbon footprint of a product? And you know, what are the related applications that you're, you're seeing there?
Max Winograd 50:10
There's a couple big elements about carbon footprint tracking that are important. So the first is what you start with, which is the information about the assumptions of that product. So usually these are done through what's called a lifecycle assessment or an LCA. And those lifecycle assessments are using a combination of real time data that's been generated by whoever's commissioned the LCA for that particular product, as well as model information that might be known as like industry averages, or global averages. To help try to get to as accurately as possible with the carbon footprint is for a product, a lot of times the carbon footprint for a product is determined at the SKU level. So going back to that black polo shirt, even though they may have been produced in different factories sold in different days, through a different during the supply chain, oftentimes, the product carbon footprint gets generated based on the same kind of model assumptions for that SKU. So it's this much fabric, it's needed to produce this item. It's this type of fabric. And so the initial kind of emissions calculations are built on these assumptions at the SKU level, when you get down to trying to get to an accurate carbon footprint for a product, you then need item level, because every product goes on a different journey to the point where, for example, the product that you're wearing might have traveled in a different sort of two different store, because we probably didn't buy our shirts at the same store at the same time. And so even there, the actual carbon footprint of the products that we're wearing starts to vary. And then when things are just the use of a product as a consumer, I may wash this product more often. So I use it more often. And that itself is a higher carbon footprint for that product. That's known as its scope, three emissions sort of the additional kind of in use, kind of impact that a product may have. All of these again, are then theoretical assumptions that we try to generate and try to average out, what we're trying to do is take some of those averages as a starting point, but then we try to build improve on top of that by getting more accurate real time information about the products journey to then know, okay, well, this product, which started with a carbon footprint of what's called five kilograms of co2 equivalents, then it traveled from point A to point B, instead of from point A to point C, therefore it has a different carbon footprint. Now it's maybe it's six instead of five versus when I went from a to c, which is now maybe seven because it was a farther distance, or travel a plane versus on a on a train car. And all those different nuances of how a product makes its way to the consumer will drive differences in carbon footprint, but ultimately get with the data that we have an aha, combined with that information that already exists in the theoretical assessments or the LCA is, we can then actually gets to an actual carbon footprint for a product that is much more real time, much more items specific, it may not be 100%, the exact carbon footprint perfectly measured, because the systems that are helping to generate that information are still being deployed, and utilize, but it ultimately creates a tremendous opportunity to really improve the overall sophistication of the analysis, but then also help meet the demands of the consumer looking for more accurate information that they really want to understand what is the impact of the products that they're buying and that they're using. And we want to be able to give them the information that they can take action with to know if product one is different than product two, in terms of carbon footprint, maybe I'll buy that one that has a slightly lower impact? Or if I don't understand how, what is the carbon footprint of my wardrobe right now? Or what's the carbon footprint of my weekly grocery list, that type of information, consumers are trying to understand more and more just that baseline data, so they can then try to operate in more sustainable way and reduce the overall footprint as individual human beings and consumers on the planet.
Steve Statler 53:44
So I have no doubt that there are consumers that really like the sound of this, are their vendors that are motivated to actually do this. Are you seeing uptake on on this this offering?
Max Winograd 53:59
Absolutely. We just actually announced some of these new tools with our spring 22 release, Steve. And we see a tremendous amount of interest coming from brands because there's either regulations that are coming that are asking them for more accurate information, as well as there could be the consumer demands that you were talking about. But then also they're thinking about, they have their own targets that they've already articulated either to Wall Street or to the broader ESG community where they said we're going to be net zero by 2050, or 2030, or 2040. Well, let's prove it. And eventually you're gonna see more and more prove it coming from regulators and consumers, at which point then they need to have really robust and accurate information to back up their claims of how they've reduced their carbon footprint, how they're tracking towards those Net Zero targets. And we hope to be one of the solution providers in that ecosystem that come together to really make that data more accurate and then ultimately the outcome more certain when it comes to achieving net zero targets.
Steve Statler 54:56
And just yesterday, Can you unpack what that is?
Max Winograd 55:00
It's a much broader lens of not just the the carbon footprint as well as looking at the environmental, social governance aspects of really how companies are citizens and stewards of the earth, and sort of how I support all stakeholders. So it's not just touching environmental impact, but also the impact they're having on their people, as well as how they actually operate and run their businesses in a way that's transparent. And in a way that's consistent with best practices. And so you'll see, sometimes in the news, you'll read about how certain ESG index might incorporate companies from sectors that are typically viewed as bad for the environment. For example, energy oil companies may be on ESG indexes. That's also because there's a much broader context of what ESG entails. It's not just the environmental footprint. So they're not just looking for the companies that produce the greenest products in the world, but actually, are maybe operating and governing themselves in a way that's consistent with best practices for corporate responsibility, regardless of second,
Steve Statler 56:02
and are you seeing more of a priority on ESG than maybe in the past? Because it isn't in the past? It seemed like this rather limp, powerless, window dressing. And
Max Winograd 56:17
I think it's a fair it's a fair point that there has been a huge evolution in how how companies approach ESG I think there's a realization that so many of us, so many of these companies actually produce stuff, and they produce things. And if you think about, you know, we talk about growth as some of our goals, and we report to investors, as do many companies. Well, ultimately, if you're creating more and more stuff that's still creating more and more of an environmental impact, because it takes energy to produce things energy to consume things and sell things and supply things. How do we actually look at reducing that impact holistically, and creating value so that there's still the stakeholders are still being taken care of, while also ensuring that we're meeting our goals of reducing emissions and carbon footprint while potentially producing more things. So it's a real challenge that the business community faces of growth, but growth in a responsible way that ultimately heads towards a future state where we have a livable planet that we can all participate healthily, as well. I think that it's definitely went from being a pure compliance topic, which was, I think, the case a couple of decades ago, to being seen as it's an enabler for business, that I can actually be more profitable by operating more sustainably. And my consumers are going to be more loyal to my brand, because I'm making more responsible and environmentally conscious choices and how I operate my business.
Steve Statler 57:42
A little bit. We got to wrap up, unfortunately. But before I let you go, I've got to ask you the the toughest question, which is, what are the three songs that you're going to take on your trip to Mars when we send you off in your, in the Avery Dennison? Rocket that's going to be heading in that direction?
Max Winograd 58:00
All right. Great question, Steve. So I got a few and it was hard to pick just three. So I think I think the first one I've got to do, because I'm not sure who else is in the rocket ship with me. So I'm going to pick up on Cripple Creek by the band as one of my three. It's one of my favorite songs, song that was actually played at my wedding. So you know, it's one of those, it'll remind me if my if my wife is home, watching the rocket feed and isn't on the ship with me, you can remind me about my family, then we've got it's going to be alright. Bye Bye PJ Morton. It's one of those songs where it's just got a great beat and a great rhythm that when he plays live, sometimes a song will go on for 8 10 12 minutes with all these different kinds of musicians coming in and improvising. It's so fast paced, I feel like it's one of those songs that would give you a speeding ticket if you're listening to it on the highway, and sort of driving to the rhythm. So I think I could get some more as faster if I was playing that song. And then lastly, I would have to go with Miles Davis song so I'm going to go with so what from kind of blue, but really, I could feel a lot of different miles numbers would really be great. I'm just imagining like, one of the cooler settings for a jazz backdrop would be just like staring out into outer space as you're just like kind of going by so it's like that perfect, like nighttime music and you're just seeing all the stars and planets on your trip to Mars. So that's it's a little bit of an eclectic mix of of songs here, but I think it'll be the music part for me is always really important on the road trip or the space trip for sure.
Steve Statler 59:34
Great choices. Awesome. Max. Thanks so much. I've really enjoyed this. Thanks for spending time with us.
Max Winograd 59:50
I find your Steve really really great to catch up and feel better as well and hope to see you back stateside soon.