Fighting a Global Product Spoilage Problem: How We Invented Logmore to Secure Perishable Goods
20 years ago Antti Tapio had the vision of small, cheap sensors watching every sensitive package. This would bring security to logistics, from food to electrics to pharmaceuticals.
His initial goal was to enable agriculture to optimize every step of its logistics processes. To do that you need data that gives you visibility and helps you to make the right decisions. To Antti, this meant weather and storage conditions, from temperature and humidity and more.
By 2006 Antti and his team had designed and built a cloud solution where users could see the situation at their fields and warehouses in real-time.
For perspective: Nokia 6070 was the world’s most sold phone in 2006. Mobile network coverage and bandwidth were nowhere near what we have today. This is why the solution used text messages instead of an internet connection for uploading the sensor readings.
At the same time, Janne Juhala and Niko Polvinen were getting pulled into the world of tech. It had already been a few years since the guys became friends at the age of 6, but their first documented project together was to fit an MP3 player into a LEGO block. Why a LEGO block, the reasons remain unknown.
Along with tinkering with electronics Janne had started coding already at the age of ten. After coding became a real hobby for him, it didn’t take long for him to get interested in data and analytics. This led him to build Symthic, an online platform for Battlefield game series’ weapon data.
This source of precise knowledge became the go-to place for the serious player. Soon it was the largest unofficial online community around the game series. In a couple of years, Janne sold Symthic to a US-based company, but his interest in data and analytics never left.
A couple of years later, after leaving the small hometown behind to study IT and business in University of Jyväskylä Janne and Niko started their first business together. It started off as a side hustle while both of them were working for a local AI/data startup. During the day they developed solutions for different problems of containerized logistics. After that, simple games and tiny projects. Slowly and steadily, the amount of real (=paid) work started to grow.
One of the paying customers was Antti Tapio and through a common project between their companies led to the trio getting to know each other. When sometime late 2016 Antti was ready to share the idea he’d been working on, Janne built a working prototype using a Raspberry Pi and a display from another project. The first prototype brought Antti’s idea of Dynamic QR code into life. QR codes have been in use since 1994, but never like this.
2021, a few years after the first prototype, we have been securing shipments of Covid-19 vaccines (and test kits), pharmaceuticals, food, machinery and electronics. We have already seen first hand how great of an impact visibility can have on. The grey area of the unknown, currently covering most of the global chains, is vanishing. This new era of transparency is enabled by lower cost monitoring systems, but also by more advanced data management and analyses.
Where are we heading to? We see two major issues in the distribution chains of perishables. Data is not collected from where it should be. Too often there’s temperature information from the truck or maybe from a pallet level, but that’s just directional. It’s easy to understand that the difference between temperature and humidity might be drastic from the other end of the fully loaded truck. Temperature and all other critical conditions are needed from the products or at least from as close to them as possible.
What if we had the products tell their individual stories? We would still run into the second issue: far too few would make proper use of the data. For many perishable goods temperature is the one condition with a significant impact on the shelf life of the product. The dynamics have been oversimplified to the level where we throw out everything when the cold chain breaks and that’s about it. What about when the cold chain has been exceptionally good? It makes no difference, while it should. Sufficient cold chain allows you to safely use the product until that specific point in time. Maintaining optimal temperatures could multiply the shelf life from there.
The global food market alone generated over 8 trillion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2020. Approximately one third of all food produced for people is wasted before it even reaches the consumer. Similar numbers are reported for other perishables such as pharmaceuticals as well.
Logmore works to solve these problems to reduce the amount of perishables spoiled, to improve product safety, and to let the global logistics work the best possible way.
Take a look at our open position here: logmore.com/careers