As a company with a mission, Alsico knows they have a special challenge. Producing workwear from durable recycled fabrics in a market segment not exactly known for its transparency, they are intent on setting an example. Indeed, they strongly believe that eventually their quest for honest raw materials will be appreciated by their customers and provide meaningful differentiation from suppliers that are mostly focused on the immediate economics, to put it gently.

Experiments in the past to use sewn-in QR codes to provide customers direct insight into the provenance of their products - overalls, work jackets, pants, gloves - had not exactly been convincing. As a result, when Alsico got in touch with Esoptra in this matter, their initial hesitation was quite understandable. Eventually, a POC did not materialize, and Alsico decided to build a basic prototype by themselves to use at the A+A 2019, the important biennial trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany around safety and health at work. Indeed, “how hard can it be” to just connect a QR code with a web page? One has to admit it does look deceptively simple at the surface.

Many times before, Esoptra had been confronted with similar unwarranted optimism at prospect sites. As a result, it had set out to build - a product to address a wide range of data access use cases including this very specific one. In the meantime, its development was sufficiently far along for Alsico to conduct the planned experiment in full self-service. A short remote demo made that sufficiently clear. As time was of the essence with the deadline for A+A coming up, Alsico took a leap of faith to move forward with - the free edition, no less - to use QR code labels on the workwear to be showcased at A+A.

With, the technical part of the setup effectively became a matter of minutes: printing a series of QR codes and uploading a PDF document for each of those, describing the essential durability and recycling characteristics of the workwear. So the actual work mainly consisted of pulling together of all of the desired transparency information into a nicely laid out PDF document.

At A+A, the workwear would be displayed on mannequins (check out the photo on top), with every separate clothing item having its own QR code label, ready for scanning by visitors, exactly as shown here below. Try to scan the label’s QR code with a smartphone or click the link underneath it - the effect is the same. 

At the far end of the mannequin row, another QR code was displayed for a PDF comparing 6 sustainable to circular workwear models:

Summarizing the results after the trade fair, Alsico was happy with the feedback obtained from stand visitors. The setup was clear to everyone and the reactions to the system were quite positive as it was easy to use.

“Alsico needs to get the message out that overseeing the full production cycle enables us to practice sustainability. Esoptra’s instant solution lets us showcase the transparent proof that, indeed, we practice what we preach.”
-- Wouter De Broeck, Sustainability and Communications Manager, Alsico

All in all, this really was digital pioneering at its best, with targeted and limited efforts producing quick results at near zero cost. Alsico now knows how to move forward. The next frontier is industrializing this prototype at scale, possibly including data that is sourced automatically from their back-end ERP system: a specialty!

This is how we radically simplify data access and content sharing. I bet we can do this for you too. If still in doubt, just ask Alsico!

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