Today’s Pickup: Walmart says ‘Get on the blockchain’ or ‘Get off the bus, Gus’

  Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Good day,

Walmart Inc. [NASDAQ: WMT], in a letter to be issued Monday to suppliers, will require its direct suppliers of lettuce, spinach and other greens to join its food-tracking blockchain by Jan. 31. The retailer also will mandate that farmers, logistics firms and business partners of these suppliers join the blockchain by Sept. 30, 2019.

Walmart brought blockchain technology to the forefront now three times. First, by conducting the pork trial in China in 2016, and second with sliced mangoes in 2017 with IBM [NASDAQ: IBM], Dole, and Driscoll. It has now formed the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance with IBM, JD.com [NASDAQ: JD] and the Tsinghu University National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce to develop standards and partnerships to enable a food safety ecosystem, and to create a standards-based method of collecting data about the origin, safety and authenticity of food. Farm origination details, batch numbers, factory and processing data, expiration dates, and shipping details are digitally connected—within at least two seconds—to food items and entered into the blockchain at each step.

Cargill will soon offer consumers Honeysuckle White turkeys produced by family farmers. In select markets, consumers will be able to text or enter an on-package code to access the farm’s location (by state and county), view the family farm story, see photos from the farm, and read a message from the farmer, according to Meat + Poultry.

Did you know?

The heavy rain from Hurricane Florence has been gone for days, but rivers are still rising and thousands of people were told to plan to leave their homes on Monday before rivers reach their crest.

Quotable:

“Apple Developers are said to have designed parts of their computers on napkins in my dad’s restaurant.” 

—Preet Sivia, co-founder and chief business officer, Parade

In other news:

U.S. reliance on obscure imports from China points to strategic vulnerability

Corporations gained tariff waivers for raw materials and parts by arguing that China had become an indispensable supplier. (WSJ)

How Trump split Mexico and Canada in NAFTA talks

Mexico weakened Canada’s negotiating leverage when it conceded on some issues important to Ottawa. (Reuters)

Scant liquidity, continued spending and inflated deposits highlight Tesla's 10-Q disclosures

Tesla only had $230 million remaining under its credit agreement at June 30th, its main source of cash funding. (Forbes)

This driverless startup has one mission: save the future of Ford

Argo AI’s Bryan Salesky, with a billion-dollar investment from a Detroit icon, might be looking for another automaker to buy in. (Bloomberg)

OmniTRAX: Savannah Gateway Hub's road construction begins

Construction is underway to improve access to the Savannah Gateway Industrial Hub near the Port of Savannah, Georgia. (Progressive Railroading)

Final thoughts:

McKinsey sees a business model disruption in transportation. Increasing commoditization of vehicles will lead to OEMs staying focused on operational efficiency at the heart of its business, as they look towards alternative powertrain solutions to complement their diesel offerings. McKinsey expects disruptive competitors emerging from corners that have traditionally ignored the OEM industry, like the Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, or Shanghai. Heid contended that differentiation through a product alone would no longer be feasible, and that mobility would change across major dimensions.

“On the people dimension, we have the aim for zero fatalities and accidents, as well as a shift from pure commuting time to value-added time. And on our planet, we further strive towards 100% clean technology and emission-free technology,” he said. “And on the business dimension, it is important to stay competitive, decrease transport costs and further gain in attractiveness.”

Hammer down, everyone!