Companies are making big changes in how they’re connecting with customers, especially when it comes to being honest and open about where their ingredients come from. Stonyfield, a company that produces organic yogurt, recently enlisted MIT researchers from the Media Lab to create Sourcemap, an interactive supply chain map where customers could look at and click on every location their ingredients come from. Once clicked on, the ingredient will share more information about that particular location and the people or place that grow the ingredient.
Stonyfield's decision to illuminate all of that information wasn’t just for the good of the customer (even though that was a large part of it). Not only does the Sourcemap help the customer get the real details behind the yogurt they are eating, but it helps Stonyfield itself. Wood Turner, vice president of sustainability at Stonyfield, shares that Sourcemap is a valuable tool for the employees within the company.
"It's a tool that [helps] engage... internal stakeholders in supply chain issues," Turner said. “[Stonyfield also] used the project to build deeper relationships--in engaging suppliers to bring their story to life, asking them to do something kind of different. The process created new relationships and new opportunities.”
When it comes to bringing this new technology to other companies, Stonyfield recognises that going back and finding where the ingredients came from is a little easier said than done.
"We really do believe in relationship sourcing model for our ingredients. Other companies might find it more difficult to go back to the beginning and figure out where ingredients come from," Turner admitted.
But that doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t try. With this new technology, companies may be surprised at the support and excitement customers have at finally being told the truth on where their food and other goods come from.