Thursday, 17 January 2019
Falcon: New interim tool for formatting of transaction verification data
FSC will soon introduce Falcon, a new secure and efficient tool to assist certificate holders in formatting their transaction verification data.
As FSC continues to focus on digital solutions that deliver the most value to our stakeholders, the Falcon tool will be released at the end of February 2019 to aid certificate holders in getting data ready for transaction verification. At the same time, the current version of the Online Claims Platform (OCP) will be retired.
A new tool to validate your data quality
During the last two years, we have gathered information about which parts of transaction verification are difficult and time consuming for our certificate holders, their auditors, ASI and FSC.
For transaction verification to work, all required data must be submitted in a consistent format. Unfortunately, this has not always worked in practice, and takes a lot of additional time and effort from all parties to rectify.
Falcon aims to ease this administrative burden by checking the format and uniformity of the submitted data, thereby avoiding subsequent back-and-forth submissions resulting from errors. In addition, certificate holders can easily check their submitted data before sending these to the auditor.
Falcon is a voluntary tool and is primarily relevant for certificate holders subject to transaction verification. It is a temporary solution to the administrative burden posed by inconsistent data, and more comprehensive tools are in development for launch late in 2019.
Falcon can also be used as a volume summary tool that provides your claims in a pre-approved format for audits. However, the tool does not perform transaction verification or compare claims across certificate holders. This part of the transaction verification process will still need to be completed by ASI.
For certificate holders interested in using Falcon, the Falcon user guide more information is available at fsccredibility.zendesk.com. The FSC team can also be contacted from this website for further support.
More advanced tools planned in 2019
Falcon is only the first in a series of tools planned to help address the digital needs of our stakeholders.
In 2019, FSC aims to pilot a blockchain solution with the goal of dramatically lowering costs and strengthening the integrity of FSC claims. We believe that emerging technologies like blockchain can be employed in ways that extend the reach of certification to small and medium-size companies.
Michael Marus, Global Chief Information Officer and Director of IT at FSC, explains:
"We are deeply committed to the vision of a stronger FSC system supported by technology solutions.
"Many certificate holders, large and small, are looking for systems inspired by blockchain to help them validate their claims across commodity groups, while others are looking for tools which will aid them in setting up and maintaining their chain of custody certificate in a simple way, from start to finish.
"Digital solutions will strengthen FSC and directly support our stakeholders’ needs. Falcon is the first small and simple step to improving our current tools based on our users’ needs. As we move towards new technologies, we will of course reach out to our stakeholders and engage them in defining and piloting these new solutions."
If you are interested in learning more about this, we encourage you to follow our group on LinkedIn called FSC Digital Innovations.
Input on Falcon is encouraged
We value the input of our stakeholders on this new application. It is important to us that our tool works for you and does not add to your administrative burden. As a result, the new tool will be released in a beta version from the end of February to June 2019, and input during this beta period is encouraged. (Input can be provided by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org)
Retirement of the current version of the OCP
As part of the process of improving current platforms, we are retiring the OCP. We will continue to support all active users until the end of May 2019 and will actively help users transition to Falcon, and/or support them in accessing their information on the retired version of the OCP platform.
FSC will reach out directly to all active users of the OCP and support migration to other platforms.
Read more on the retirement here: https://ic.fsc.org/en/news-updates/id/2248
What is transaction verification?
Transaction verification is the verification process required by the FSC chain of custody standard (FSC-STD-40-004 V3) to ensure that FSC output claims made by certificate holders are accurate and match with the FSC input claims of their trading partners. The verification is conducted by the certification body and Accreditation Services International (ASI) and is only required for already defined regions, species, and/or product groups.
What is Falcon?
Falcon is a simple Excel formatting tool that eases the administrative burden of FSC certificate holders in submitting their transaction verification data. It does this by validating that all required fields have been completed, that the data has the correct format, that licence numbers have the right format and so on. Additionally, this empowers FSC certificate holders to prepare for transaction verification by allowing them to easily check their transaction verification sheets prior to sending them to their auditor. Falcon is locally hosted, so does not involve the upload of data into the cloud or outside company firewalls.
When using the application, certificate holders can either verify full spreadsheets with claims in a predefined format or enter claims one by one.