Are there ways to improve compliance, safety, operational efficiency and information quality in international food chains? Can we reduce the cost of compliance for businesses and at the same time lower the cost of supervision for government agencies? Thauris believes that this is possible if we combine the knowledge of multiple disciples (e.g., biology, law, economics, mathematics and information technology) to study problems and develop solutions.
Thauris optimises information administration, exchange and analysis. This young company based in the Netherlands serves government agencies and large corporations that want 21st century solutions for tackling their challenges. Thauris uses an interdisciplinary methodology for information chain optimisation, covering all aspects from analysis and design to deployment and continuous improvement. Thanks to this, their clients can be sure that all the relevant aspects such as legislation, organization, change management, finance and planning are also taken care of during projects.
How did you come up with the idea for Intelligent Food Safety Control?
Thauris wants to harness the power of advanced information technology to assure food safety in the world. If applied with the right controls, procedures and agreements between the actors involved, information technology can detect potentially unsafe food faster and more precisely than the human eye. Inspired by control theory – an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and mathematics that deals with the behavior of dynamic systems with various inputs, outputs and feedback loops – we are continuously looking for ways to automate burdensome and error prone activities such as data rekeying, analysis and reconciliation. This project results from this quest and we are pleased that the Finish Programme has acknowledged the value of our efforts.
What is the vision behind Intelligent Food Safety Control?
The core idea of the Intelligent Food Safety Control (IFSC) project is to develop the first food safety information exchange and analysis platform with automated data integrity analysis.
This project is rooted in a well-defined industry need for data quality controls in food safety information exchange and analysis in the meat supply chain. The cost of governmental supervision on red meat in the Netherlands is over €60 million per year and this cost is incurred by the meat industry. Thauris and its business partner EBPI have developed and implemented a Intelligent Food Safety Control platform that successfully reduces the cost of supervision and, at the same time, improves transparency on quality control in meat supply chains. The platform visualizes the level of quality control in a meat supply chain for companies and supervisory bodies. One of the applications is food safety control: both the quality control department of a company and the supervisory body can access reliable and timely data on meat quality (e.g., salmonella, listeria and e-coli levels) provided by a certified laboratory.
What are the main benefits of Intelligent Food Safety Control for your customers?
Intelligent Food Safety Control (IFSC) provides the following benefits for meat producers:
- Better meat quality control through business intelligence: the availability of near real time and validated data on your performance changes the game of quality control. The staff at the abattoir can plan quality control processes, inspections and analytical processes more efficiently and data driven. Internal and external reporting to supervision agencies becomes an automated process.
- The automated data integrity analysis service (in development) will provide parties with reliable, continuous audits on their IT systems. If there is no inconsistency between the data sent by abattoirs and the verification data sent by the lab, this means that the abattoir is ‘in control’ of its IT. And if the abattoir can adequately act in case of inconsistent data (find out what the reason is and address it), this means that it is in control of its quality assurance processes.
- Other stakeholders – such as retailers down the chain – can request data in a structured format. Thanks to the data integrity services on top of other controls, stakeholders can be sure that the data they get is reliable.
- Positive corporate image: any company with a state-of-the-art food safety control system demonstrates both the willingness and ability to be transparent about its performance. Being transparent on your performance on food safety control is a clear signal that your company is compliant and committed to provide high-quality and safe meat products.
- Complete support from inception and design to implementation and service management.
- Predictable food safety monitoring cost thanks to predefined service fees.
How did you find your business partner?
As a young company looking to realize innovations, Thauris depends on strong partnerships with organizations that share our passion to safeguard food safety. Based on our vision to launch a generic, scalable and secure platform for Intelligent Food Safety Control, it did not take much effort to convince VION (Key Business Partner), EBPI (additional SME) and Silliker (Business Partner) to work with us and to form a consortium for further collaboration.
How is your experience with FIWARE so fare?
The first time we read about the various FIWARE GE’s we were very impressed. The Finish programme understands which components can be combined and configured to support business processes in multiple industries. Our current platform that is in production already includes self-developed components with functionalities comparable to those of the FIWARE GE’s. One specific GE that stands out and can be very valuable for us is SpagoBI, an entirely Open Source Business Intelligence suite. SpagoBI offers a wide range of analytical tools with multiple possible use case for our clients. We are looking forward to configuring, deploying and testing this GE in our project.
We are also excited about the social business networking features of FIspace. A platform like this that connects business, customers and developers together would be a great bridge for extending our business reach across Europe.
Where will Intelligent Food Safety Control be in the year 2020?
The best possible outcome for us is if Intelligent Food Safety Control is adopted by the 20 largest abattoirs in the Netherlands by the year 2020. This would allow us to gain enough critical mass to introduce the platform in other European countries (that have the same safety norms in accordance with the General Food Law) and even in other agri- and food domains in which food safety needs to be monitored frequently. The support provided by the FInish Accelerator is a great push towards this future.