In an interview with CIO Applications, Joe Schutte, CTO of Ashton Potter, provides an insightful perspective about his organization’s solution, value proposition, and vision for the future.
Can you provide a quick overview of the company’s journey?
More than 90 years ago, Ashton Potter was founded as a commercial printer with a specialized focus on high security printing for the world’s governments. Over time, we became one of the reigning stamp producers in the world, known for our ability to address even the most stringent high security requirements on a massive scale.
In 2013, in response to the growing intersection between physical and digital security measures, we developed a track and trace technology that created a digital genealogy for documents and products as they traveled through the supply chain and into circulation. Even in its nascence, this technology enabled our customers to achieve a new level of visibility and control. This core technology became the foundation of ProLinc™.
This humble beginning has become the ProLinc™ of today, an advanced product security and traceability solution that is trusted by the world’s leading manufacturers and brands. Created to serve high volume, high velocity manufacturing operations, ProLinc™ works in partnership with tamper-evident labels to solve critical issues associated with brand protection, recall resolution, quality control, manufacturing efficiency, and regulatory compliance. Together, our ProLinc™ technology and high security printing services make Ashton Potter the go-to partner for all governmental and organization types with rigorous regulatory and authentication requirements for product security.
But our commitment to customer success doesn’t stop there. We are committed to not only providing the right solutions, but also ensuring they perform within each manufacturer’s systems and processes. With the assistance of our trusted Gold Integration Partners, we seamlessly integrate ProLinc™ into our customers’ existing ERP and factory systems, augmenting and extending their enterprise capabilities with a value-rich layer of product security functionality.
Created to serve high volume, high velocity manufacturing operations, ProLinc™ works in partnership with tamper-evident labels to solve critical issues associated with brand protection, recall resolution, quality control, manufacturing efficiency, and regulatory compliance
Brands that create and distribute highly valuable or highly regulated goods have a specialized need for product authentication. In most cases, authentication takes the form of a physical tamper-evident label, or a digital track and trace function provided through either RFID or direct marking applications. While many solution providers are focused on one of these, we marry the best of both worlds to take product security to a new level for our clients.
In addition, our scalability is virtually unrivaled. Our all-in-one solution scales to the billions of records, making it capable of satisfying the requirements of the world’s largest manufacturers and governments. Oftentimes manufacturers require billions of products to be tracked simultaneously across multiple factories and points in the value chain throughout the world. And yet, this scalability cannot come at the expense of detailed data. ProLinc™ is designed to achieve both the global scalability and granular insight today’s manufacturers require on a “real-time” basis.
Please share a detailed use case in which Ashton Potter and its solution helped one of your clients curb challenges and achieve business objectives?
When we first started in the landscape of premium brands, we affixed our serialized labels to each product manufactured by an international luxury shoe brand. With a simple scan of one of our high security labels, this manufacturer was able to track the authenticity of its shoes from inception to purchase by the end consumer, proactively isolating and foiling any attempts to counterfeit or divert product. In addition to blocking compromises in the premium brand environment, ProLinc™ empowered this particular client to maintain a complete data record spanning inventory, pricing, process, and distribution.
Building upon our success in securing premium brand products, Ashton Potter adapted its solution for additional industry requirements, optimizing functionality for food and beverage, automated manufacturing, DoD contractors, contract manufacturing, government, pharmaceuticals, and automotive parts.
What does the roadmap hold for Ashton Potter in the next 12-18 months in terms of your offerings?
Since our time in the product security space, we have been the only company to offer comprehensive solutions that go beyond standard track and trace capabilities. Many vendors offer some degree of traceability but fail to provide granular insight at the product level, therefore lacking the ability to simultaneously diffuse counterfeiting attempts, standardize product quality, automate compliance, and manage recalls. We provide holistic solutions that include labels with a level of security that reveals compromising attempts by bad actors, as well as total traceability that extends from raw material to finished goods, be they from “factory floor to end user” or “field to fork” in the case of the food industry.
As the market continues to transform and client needs evolve, we are always in the process of strengthening our solution. As an extension of our commitment to security, we have been working on harnessing Blockchain to simultaneously record and store confidential data. In addition, we are nearing the completion of a sensoring module, which will collect meaningful information from the factory floor that is relevant to product security. We anticipate both of these functions to be part of the next release of ProLinc™ currently scheduled for Q1/ Q2-2020.