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Supply Chain Firm Finds Funding

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A supply chain software firm has received a new round of funding, which will help them to double the size of their teams. Authenticate Information Systems, which specialises in technology for the food industry, has secured £2.3 million.

Investment Fund involvement

The total figure includes £1.5 million which comes from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. The remaining money comes from a number of existing shareholders, including Summit Alpha. With this total new funding, the company will be able to create ten new jobs at their headquarters in Harrogate – so watch out for food tech job listings here.

Authenticate IS was founded in 2013, and their software is very important for food firms who use ingredients from third parties. It allows them to track their ingredients right back to where they were sourced, ensuring that they comply with the relevant standards. This may include health and safety, the avoidance of contact with allergens, and even ethical production concerns. In a climate which can be very embarrassing for companies that are caught out, this is exceedingly important at the moment.

It may not even be a question of compliance with regulations, but of the moral standard to which a given company holds itself. If the marketing is all based around a particular product being ethically sourced, it would not do for consumers to discover that somewhere in the supply chain was exploitation or abuse.

Indeed, it could even lead to clashes with the Advertising Standards Agency, who would like to know that all claims are backed up with a basis in reality!

Full compliance

“All food companies have increasingly complex compliance issues that they are looking to resolve in more efficient and cost-effective ways,” said chief executive Paul Marples. “Authenticate is building powerful, technology-led solutions that can deliver the supply chain insight that foodservice businesses, retailers and manufacturers need. This includes the ability to view a full chain of custody for multi-ingredient products with confirmed country of origin, while seeing live compliance data for direct and indirect suppliers through membership schemes such as Sedex, BRC and Red Tractor.”

He went on to add: “​As well as mapping out products on an interactive map, Key Performance Indicators relating to issues such as animal welfare and sustainability metrics can be gathered at each step of the journey.”

Authenticate’s package includes automated reporting, user-friendly interfaces, real-time notifications and alerts, and data which Marples points out cannot be garnered through traditional methods. While spreadsheets and static databases can be useful, they often cannot provide a sense of the bigger picture (or the smaller details).

Reporting case study

Marples provided explanations as to how his software works in real time. For example, when suppliers fail to meet the standards required by the company, they will immediately be alerted. One such area in which this has already come in handy for certain businesses was for animal welfare metrics, which are gathered from meat suppliers.

Some members of the Authenticate system were instantly informed of below-standard results for journey times from the animals’ farm to the abattoir, meaning they may have suffered more than was necessary. They were also alerted when the use of pesticides reported by the supplier exceeded a threshold that had been set by the customer.

Suspended or expired memberships were also flagged in the certification area, showing companies that were no longer correctly regulated.

If you are one of the employers we work with here, you may not need to be told any of this: Authenticate IS already works with 75% of the food manufacturers in the UK, as well as five top supermarkets, and more than 20,000 food companies around the world.