Keeping the Food Chain Safe with Master Data Management

How Multi-domain Data Governance Works from Farm-to-Fork 

With the escalation of recalls in the food industry leaving a blizzard of regulation in its wake, it is becoming increasingly important that regulatory environments, legal restrictions or requirements, authorizations and accreditations, industry standard practices, and security over monitoring of activity is managed to ensure compliance – even as these mandates become increasingly difficult to understand, Implement or update.  Add cybersecurity risks, mix in consumer desire for transparency, then layer in the collection of consumer data collection and you’ve got a perfect storm of data management challenges across the food supply chain.

Examples of such complexity abound in the food industry:

  • Everyone is looking for precision in understanding nutrient content, compliance with governmental food safety, traceability and recall provisions, rules on naming of food (e.g., “homemade” or “organic), menu labeling, sell by dates, etc.
  • Loyalty schemes and the associated personally identifiable information are coming under increased scrutiny with GDPR or California Consumer Privacy Act regulations and make tracking customer behavior in order to deliver 1:1 personalization offers -that are so common in digital and omnichannel commerce worlds – increasingly risky and fraught with penalties for exposure of data
  • Certifications for electronics hardware that range from Underwriters Laboratory to the FCC, from Bluetooth SIG to SAR ratings for RF absorption by biological objects

How is one to keep pace with these requirements, much less actually run a business that is not centered on regulations but rather, on producing great products and services along with compelling customer experiences?  Or how do the internal legal and regulatory compliance officers or relevant external advisors make sure that such requirements are known and embedded in the operational fabric of the company?  E.g., robust data governance, data updates, system operations and controls are essential in preventing issues, notwithstanding any after the fact auditing and reporting on problem, with prevention being essential in today’s world where threats and regulations are constantly appearing.

Fortunately, Experience Lifecycle Management (ELM) has emerged to unify experience management across internal and external constituents, including data domains that are relevant for experiences, including domains such as product, customer, supplier, location, regulatory, industry standards, etc .  

“At UniPro Foodservice, we manage the food value chain from “farm to fork” through our distributor members across 900 locations, serving up trusted content for products and the related regulatory information, as well as nutritionals, formulations and even recipe information,” said Martin Schmidler, VP of IT at UniPro. “We master the complexities of data integration, stewardship, and governance through our multi-domain platform that creates one source of the truth and drives consistency across the Enterprise.”

ELM itself is defined as P&L-based orchestration and streamlining of experiential moments in customer journeys.  For clarity:

  • ELM Customers are both internal and external
  • Internal customers: a company’s business personnel from the supply-side, demand-side and administration and support roles that address legal and regulatory compliance
  • External customers: suppliers, trading partners, content providers, B2B and B2C customers, and standards and legal entities such as trade associations and governments
  • ELM Owners are executives/decision-makers having pivotal P&L roles such as CEOs, COOs, and general and department managers, all of whom today have responsibilities not only for upside sales and margin lift but also operational efficiencies and risk management for their businesses
  • ELM is measured by Return on Experience in Commerce (ROX/C): Inflection point metrics arising from experiential moments contributing to P&L outcomes, including scorecards for data quality, quantifiable attribution of demand lift, and compliance performance and risks.
  • ELM embodies the concept of a feedback loop that contributes to a continuous improvement mindset and the ability to “test and learn” throughout the lifecycle of managing experiences

Returning to the food example, ELM considers all the constituents from “farm to fork”.  includes streamlining regulatory data requirements to automatically push to the point of need or sharing to relevant systems to ease the burden of business users, and to the adoption of automated accreditation workflows.

The diagram highlights key sources and processing of information that contribute to creation of compelling experiences across the food value chain and various customers as well as are embedded or fulfill food standards and regulations for disclosure.


For many companies in industry today, the incorporation of legal and regulatory requirements in centralized and distributed data repositories can seem to be an overwhelming challenge that may not seem that related to creating great product and service experiences for customers, especially in today’s multichannel commerce environments.  Instead, we believe that there is a form of centripetal force, i.e., the ELM feedback loop revolves around and is directed toward the center orchestration hub for the continuous improvement – and it includes legal and regulatory embodiment within that hub so that compliance considerations are easily incorporated while creating experiences given the centralization.

In today’s fast-changing commerce environment, customer preferences rapidly change, regulations are continually updated, and the product and services that companies deliver are continually refreshed.  But with the right orchestration through multi-domain data management platforms, those real-time demands can not only be mastered despite the complexities, they can be mastered in a way to feed all of commerce touchpoints from portals to websites, from product labels to digital signage, from point-of-sale systems to mobile devices.   And securely engage customers with compliant content.