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Matium Monday Vol. 5 - The US Supply Chain Evolution

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The highly anticipated launch of the Matium Network is just one week away.

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The US Supply Chain Evolution: Physical vs Digital Infrastructure

While the physical infrastructure has rapidly advanced since the 1800s, people are still doing BOLs by hand.

The evolution of America’s supply chain infrastructure is a tale of continuous innovation and expansion, mirroring the nation’s growth. It started humbly with horse-drawn carriages and riverboats, which were slow but laid the groundwork. Then came the railroad era in the 1800s, revolutionizing transportation by connecting distant corners of the country. This leap in logistics was transformative, shrinking travel times from months to mere days.

As the 20th century rolled in, the focus shifted to road transportation. The U.S. government constructed vast networks of highways, like the iconic Route 66 and the Interstate Highway System, heralded by President Eisenhower. This move made trucking central to domestic freight movement, a status it retains today.

Meanwhile, advancements in air cargo and the development of major sea ports, like those in Los Angeles and New York, added layers of versatility and efficiency to the supply chain, accommodating global trade on an unprecedented scale.

However, juxtaposed against this robust physical infrastructure is the relatively underdeveloped digital supply chain infrastructure. Unlike the tangible, well-trodden paths of trains, trucks, and ships, the digital realm remains a frontier yet to be fully conquered. This digital lag is striking, considering how crucial technology is for optimizing efficiency and transparency in today’s interconnected world. While physical systems are mature, the digital networks that should streamline operations, enhance real-time communication, and predict market demands are still catching up. This contrast underscores a critical need for America to invest and innovate in its digital supply chain infrastructure, leveraging technology to match the sophistication of its physical logistics legacy.

The Digital Evolution via Matium

Thoughts from our CEO Bailey Robin:

ERP systems are just spreadsheets, forms, and if you have a decent one; analytics and paperwork generation. With discipline, you could operate most businesses off of spreadsheets and college level computer skills. Due to overbearing implementation fees of many incumbent ERP's, there are still many small businesses who operate in the latter. Unfortunately for all of us, discipline only scales so far. This yields fragmented and non-standardized industries that produce excess waste. The world produces over 700 billion pounds of plastic per year while producing over 600 billion pounds of plastic waste per year. According to Statista, global plastic production is expected to increase to 2.4 trillion pounds per year by 2060. At this rate, we will produce over 2 trillion pounds of plastic waste in 2060 if we do nothing. The “plastics problem” is a simple one: we are saying it wrong. It is a “process problem”, and it transposes to many of the industrial verticals. The process spans from virgin/scrap material generation to end product consumption. There is a quantifiable amount of carbon, physical waste, and economic deadweight loss within each process of which is just a single link in a long chain of transactions. The folks who could fix it are people who are too busy, and rightly so, keeping their business alive in the screwed up system we have today. The problem is a society-wide manifestation of the bystander effect. Someone else will fix it. We have been working on solving this problem at Matium for the past 3 years. In late 2020 and up until recently, I was working as a plastics trader focusing mainly on buying and selling post-industrial recycled and virgin plastics. We aren't doing this to replace any ERP systems, brokers, or logistics managers. We are doing it because the industry needs a step-change in efficiency. We feel obligated, and welcome those who share that sentiment. Technology has a tendency to illicit fear due to its tendency to displace workforces. For certain industries that may be the case but I can promise you no consumer is paying the supply chain to print and record BOL’s. In process engineering, we call this non-value add work. In order to survive and grow in the future AI-enabled economic landscape, brick and mortar organizations will compete on throughput. This will require transferring spend from OpEx to CapEx. Humans will not be replaced, but rather the pool of economically viable transactions will grow and with this humans will be required to generate more product per unit of work. This simply means spending less time on back office and front office, and more on production. It will be wise to focus on simplifying processes within organization to be nimble enough to adjust as the market does. We don’t have all the answers but we are here to advise, here to serve, and here to partner with the folks who aren’t afraid of an uphill battle. The world will either get better or worse, the independent variable is us.

We are growing.... again...

We are thrilled to announce that our team is expanding once again to meet the growing demand for Matium! Join us in welcoming Ricardo Macagnan and Dean Del Ponte, who have joined our engineering team. Their expertise will be instrumental as we continue to enhance the features available to our valued user base. Be sure to check out our Network Roadmap below for exciting upcoming releases, including Material Line Cards and expanded service offerings.

In addition, we are delighted to introduce Samantha Ryan, who has joined our front office team as a Network Account Executive. In this role, Samantha will provide invaluable support to our ever-expanding user base, helping them achieve success on the Matium Network.

We are also extremely excited to announce the addition of Jenifer Freeman to our advisory board:

Jenifer Freeman is the Founder and CEO of Constellation Strategies, LLC . With more than fifteen years of experience in politics, policy, and community engagement in Colorado and Rocky Mountain West, Jenifer brings a depth of expertise and relationships that drive results.

Jenifer has seasoned capabilities managing external relationships and issues with government officials, third party stakeholders, industry organizations and community partners. In addition, Jenifer has developed programs to address critical issues, such as recycling, water, workforce development and economic empowerment with a range of partners and stakeholders. Her work has incorporated communications strategies and execution to augment success of the work and tell the stories externally.

Throughout her career, Jenifer has prioritized community and industry engagement with extensive board work. Currently, she serves as the Vice-President of the Board of Directors for Recycle Colorado , Member of the Board of Directors for Circular Colorado , Member of the Central Regional Board of the USO. Previously, she has served on the Boards of the Colorado Restaurant Foundation, A Precious Child, and Circularity Action Alliance in Colorado.

For 7 years, she served as the Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs for Swire Coca-Cola, USA covering multiple states. Prior to Swire Coca-Cola, Jenifer served as the VP of State Government Affairs for UnitedHealth Group, Principal at Parquet Public Affairs, and Deputy Executive Director of the Democratic Attorneys General Association. In addition to government affairs, community engagement, and communications, her professional experience includes political consulting for statewide campaigns, operations management for a national political committee, and issue management for national trade groups.

Jenifer holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree from the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies.

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