Improving supply chain traceability with technology is BAE assistant professor's goal

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Photo of Carlos MarinoPublished: January 19, 2023

Carlos Marino, Ph.D., is changing traceability in supply chains with open-source technology. 

Marino joined Michigan State University (MSU) in January 2022 as an assistant professor in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (BAE). He is the Axia Institute’s research leader in Value Chain Digitization. He is responsible for developing Axia’s digital value chain research portfolio and working directly with forms across the industry to help reimagine their digital supply chains. 

“U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis states that adopting online tools and digital services for businesses across rural America could create more than 360,000 jobs in three years.” Marino said. “USDA highlights that an Online platform can help sell perishable food that might otherwise go to waste, increasing market access and creating $10,651 additional revenue per producer. For the State of Michigan, increased access to digital tools will unlock future economic growth in $2,108.4 M of annual sales, 8,559 additional jobs, and $369.9 M in yearly wages. Reimagining the digital supply chain provides sustainable development.”

According to IBM, blockchain is a “shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network.” As each movement of an asset (such as food or medicine) takes place, it is recorded and documented as a block of data that can be shared across an information cloud. Blockchain systems build trust in information by tracking data and keeping it secure. 

An essential aspect of a small business’s daily operations is forecasting. Forecasting successfully in this industry would reduce food waste, personnel time, and other resources. Many small companies lack the personnel and time to develop a forecasting system for their business. This is where Marino sees a need to be fulfilled. He is developing a system that would allow different supply chain sectors to communicate their resources and needs, providing accurate and relevant information to business owners.

Marino said that his goal is to develop a digital platform in real-time to enable complete visibility into the agricultural and food value chain. With touchpoints across every stage – from farm to retail to make farming sustainable, supply chains are efficient and bring transparency and traceability.

Marino joined the Axia Institute from A.I. Millennium Lab in Virginia, where he worked as a senior data scientist. Before his role at A.I. Millennium Lab, he worked for the Department of Defense in the U.S. Air Force Operations Research & Supply Chain, A.I. Division. Marino has also held supply chain positions at Nestlé and Coca-Cola. In this current position, he will work with Axia Institute staff, researchers from across MSU, and other collaborators, while leading the Institute’s value chain digitization efforts.