Too much is breaking down on supply routes – chemical and pharmaceutical products in particular are susceptible to a wide range of damaging factors. With a hardware and software construction kit, the startup chaingr offers individual monitoring of supply chains. This also enables compliance with regulatory requirements to monitor chemical and pharmaceutical products in transit. In an interview with 5-HT, founder and CEO Andreas Stoll tells us how chaingr aims to digitize and optimize supply chains.
From cold chain control to holistic supply chain monitoring
“Everything that breaks down in products during transport has to be earned anew. This is neither resource-saving nor sustainable,” explains Andreas Stoll, “This applies, for example, to temperature-sensitive products from the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. In the food industry alone, for example, 20 percent of products break on the delivery route.” And that, Andreas thinks, is too much.
The idea of digitizing and thus optimizing sensitive supply chains is no coincidence. Since 2007, Andreas Stoll has been the managing partner of tempmate, an international company based in Heilbronn, Germany. As the name suggests, tempmate has been optimizing the monitoring of cold chains for over 30 years. Andreas therefore knows the market and its challenges in this area very well.
“But a sensitive supply chain is more than just temperature monitoring. Chemical raw materials from the pharmaceutical and chemical industries need to be monitored across various factors for regulatory reasons alone,” Andreas explains. This is how the idea of offering a new business model with comprehensive supply chain monitoring first came about. “Our topic is therefore the digitalization of sensitive supply chains.”
From cutting the cord from the parent company to an independent startup
At the beginning, chaingr – or more precisely, the model of holistic supply chain monitoring – was nothing more than a project within the parent company tempmates. However, a spin-off as an independent startup soon turned out to be more purposeful: “We wanted to go different ways with chaingr than we have already been doing with tempmate for 30 years. In addition, we were at times so busy with the day-to-day business for tempmate that there was hardly any time for innovative and creative processes.” So in 2020, the decision was made to break away from the parent company tempmate and spin off a startup. Since then, the startup has consisted of three people: Andreas Stoll as Managing Director, Fabian Sailer for Business Development and Markus Kling as Head of Technology. The name ‘chaingr’ was created as a play on words from the terms ‘change(r)’ and ‘chain’.
However, tempmate and chaingr are not completely separate. Although the companies are completely separated on an organizational level, they are still located in the same premises. An exchange is still there and also important, Andreas reveals.
“This also means that the competitor is sitting in our own house with us,” Andreas sums up, “We spur each other on.” Neither company is in danger of losing its raison d’être, he adds: “Many customers are interested in our new business model. They are making a slow transition from tempmates to our supply chain monitoring model. But tempmates’ classic model also remains popular with many customers.”
From loss-making supply chains to optimized supply chains
The new pay-per-use business model is much more favorable for the customer, he said, because the monitoring hardware and software are no longer purchased as a whole: “You can think of our product as a hardware and software kit that the customer can put together individually.”
The modular system consists mainly of various sensors that measure all kinds of factors such as temperature, movement, position, CO2 content, humidity and so on, as well as transmission options for their measurements. “So the customer can always see where and in what condition his product is,” Andreas explains, “In addition, the software acts predictively. This means that if damage is likely to occur, appropriate measures are initiated. For example, the driver receives a warning or a replacement shipment is sent on its way. In this way, our customer should be able to skim the depth of added value more deeply in the future.”
At the same time, chaingr always has its watchwords in mind: responsibility, which the company always bears for its products, safety, which it guarantees for its products, transparency, which it promises to its own customers about the product and, last but not least, reputation, which will be damaged if the other watchwords are violated.
From startup to future standard in supply chain monitoring
Currently, chaingr is implementing pilot projects, is in talks with an international ERP provider, and is working with a major German insurance company on a new policy for damage within the supply chain. “So far, only elementary, i.e. visible, damage is insurable. Hidden damage, such as a temperature overrun, is not – and we want to change that,” Andreas explains.
The startup is also looking for networking opportunities. “We are looking for partnerships, of course also customers or simply exchange. That’s why we joined the network of 5-HT, because the network is very broad and therefore gives us many opportunities for networking. And of course, it’s not bad to be able to show the logo of 5-HT on your own homepage,” Andreas tells us.
“In the long term, we want to become the standard in the field of digitized supply chain monitoring,” Andreas sums up, “Similar to the Europallet, we want to be the neutral authority when it comes to supply chains.”