Coffee Talk: Greg Heartman Returns to Talk Centralized Data

Marc Simony
July 19, 2022

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We wrap up this limited Coffee Talk blog series by circling back with TraceGains Vice President of Product Greg Heartman, who shares what we’ve been up to this year and where we’re headed.

TraceGains: How does TraceGains help a distributed workforce?

Greg Heartman: Simply put, we deliver our SAAS-based products over a cloud-based infrastructure that users can access anywhere. With our solution’s centralized data capture, customers can see into the workstream and the associated risks wherever manufacturing facilities and suppliers operate. Because of our cloud-based infrastructure, all of that helps centralize the viewpoint and understanding of your business risk and opportunities.Greg_300x300

I also think having those network-connected channels to your suppliers --and then your suppliers to their customers -- helps you understand what’s happening not just inside your four walls, but how what’s happening outside those walls is going to affect the health of your business.

And because we’ve centralized the flow of data, we can also layer on more information and intelligence, which allows these distributed workforces to benefit from this integrated view and shared insights. For example, this will enable customers to quickly answer questions such as, “What are the risks posed by socio-economic challenges in Country X?” or “What is happening with pricing in the coconut market?”

So, because we centralize external data into a network-distributed view, you can pull all that directly into your interests, items, and specific suppliers, allowing distributed workforces to stay in sync across departments, local offices, and global sourcing and manufacturing locations.

That’s what newer generations expect anyway. They don’t want to work through emails, spreadsheets, or Word docs. Instead, they want the right information at the right time – digitally.

TG: What are you bringing to market next to help food, beverage, and dietary supplements manufacturers stay successful and ahead of the competitors

GH: That’s the big question we’re grappling with now because, as you know, the ground is shifting under everyone’s feet. The pandemic brought to light that supply chains, even though still functioning, suffered from a certain amount of fragility based on the way the industry had been operating, which was: “How do you create the highest degree of efficiency within your supply chain to provide the materials you need – when you need them – at the lowest possible cost?”

We all saw that fall apart during the pandemic. Over the last several decades, the global economy built a supply chain forged of rigid, inflexible connections rather than loose couplings that would allow for a level of agility and flexibility without creating more risk. Today, supply chain flexibility has become more vital than ever.

And even more recently, we’ve seen geopolitical events introduce greater global instability, which put new stressors on the worldwide supply chain in general and added pressure on companies to build and introduce new products to the market while holding on to their existing market share. And protecting market share, as we all know and saw firsthand during the pandemic, means keeping products on the shelf.

If you can’t access organic egg powder from your supplier, you’ll lose shelf space because you can’t put your cupcake mix on the shelf. Someone else will win that space, and it’s whoever finds the powder you couldn’t get your hands on.

So, over the next two years, I see us bolstering TraceGains Network with component ingredients and all their data to allow brands and manufacturers to quickly understand where and how they can turn to new ingredients and rapidly qualify new vendors and ingredients to integrate into their recipes and formulations. And we’ll continue to identify external risks to help companies know when they should pivot and to whom. So it’ll be a combination of rapid supplier identification and qualification without increasing the likelihood of introducing new risks to the consumer and increasing the risk of recalls that could erode profitability.

TraceGains will continue to evolve as a highly reliable source of component ingredients and data that allow companies to tap into these ingredients’ digital threads that the component suppliers provide. And because we enable access to this digital thread and enable you to pull that in automatically, which becomes your digital twin, we can quickly help automate change management.