Platform facilitates social distancing in produce supply chain.
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is the kind of “black swan” event that is disrupting countless aspects of business and life around the world, and the produce supply chain is not exempt. The Fusionware team wanted to find a way to limit person-to-person contact to prevent the virus from spreading. That meant changes to how members of the produce supply chain document all production, processing and distribution steps to facilitate full traceability while maintaining COVID-19-compliant touchless solutions.
For years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, electronic signatures have been used to verify interstate commerce, thanks to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act. The E-Sign Act provided rules to satisfy regulatory requirements around e-signatures. But in most systems, a physical signature is still required — commonly drawn with the finger or a stylus on a tablet or smartphone.
Fusionware has made it possible to eliminate that kind of physical touch altogether.
A no-touch system to solve the problem for the produce supply chain
“A lot of companies have everything running through a mobile device, and in order for the system to work at a place like a shipping office, every truck driver has to touch the pen or screen to sign for that load. But with COVID-19, we can’t do that,” said Fusionware President and CEO Creg Fielding. “Fusionware was faced with creating a 100% real-time e-signature system that would maintain the necessary health and safety standards but still provided full traceability.”
Fielding’s Fusionware team developed a “no-touch” process every member of the supply chain can use to provide the necessary authorization while still maintaining social distancing. “There are regulations around legal documents that you have to follow in order to meet e-signature guidelines, and our platform is compliant.” Fielding said.
How touchless e-signatures work
Once a user transfers ownership to the next member of the supply chain in the Fusionware dashboard, the system sends a text message to the latter with a mobile web link to a digital signature pad. This enables the user to sign on to their own device, eliminating the need for personal contact.
The COVID-compliant e-signature system is permission based, meaning no data is shared from the Fusionware system unless the individual user allows it. Optimized for mobile, the system enables users to sign remotely from anywhere, making it more convenient for Fusionware customers in streamlining personal touchpoints in the supply chain without physical contact.
Post-COVID-19 system utility
The Fusionware touchless e-signature utility represents a way to stop the personal contact that helps spread the virus. But the tool’s utility stretches well beyond the pandemic and will continue to facilitate a more efficient way to verify the transfer of ownership throughout the produce supply chain moving forward, Fielding said.
“I think the COVID-19 pandemic caused us to think outside the box and develop a better way to handle this step safely and securely,” he said. “A farmer, distributor or processor can send a driver a link where they can sign in a few seconds — versus the previous process in which they had to go into the system, find the order, pull up the order and sign for it. The adoption of this was definitely driven by COVID-19, but at the end of the day, it is a way better process.”
Sustaining quality through the produce supply chain
In the future, the new Fusionware touchless signature utility will help improve produce quality for the consumer. A major variable in sustaining product quality during transit is temperature, and it’s watched closely by all. Down the road, touchless signing and other features of the Fusionware platform can be applied to verify that produce loads have been kept in the right temperature range during transit.
“This e-signature capability will include temperature recorders on loads. We can ultimately use this technology to provide the necessary verification to streamline that step in the supply chain,” Fielding said. “It’s just one of many new value propositions this system is creating for our customers.”
See more about how the Fusionware platform works and request a demo for your operation here.