Over the past several years, there’s been a stunning advancement in the ways in which technology seamlessly integrates into our lives — and our supply chains. From machine learning and robotics, to artificial intelligence and data analytics, there isn’t one aspect of the supply chain that’s gone untouched. Most recently, many networks have begun tapping into the unique capabilities of blockchain. In case you’re still trying to wrap your brain around it, think of blockchain as a safe place to exchange anything of value. And what’s more valuable to your supply chain than its data?
Professional services firm Deloitte, a longtime ASCM partner, explains, “A blockchain supply chain can help participants record price, date, location, quality, certification and other relevant information to more effectively manage the supply chain.” A new Deloitte paper, Using blockchain to drive supply chain transparency, classifies each benefit as primary and secondary:
- Primary benefits include increased traceability of materials; better tracking, from an automated procurement process to a deeper knowledge of the end user; lower losses from counterfeit trading; improved visibility and compliance of outsourced manufacturing; and less paperwork.
- Secondary benefits are improved reputation and credibility, more transparency, and reduced opportunities for malpractice.
Amazon, too, praises the utility of blockchain — in particular, its ability to improve track-and-trace. The company has already implemented the technology with the aptly named Amazon Managed Blockchain. “With blockchain, supply chain companies can document production updates to a single shared ledger, which provides complete data visibility and a single source of truth,” the AWS website states. “Because transactions are always time-stamped and up to date, companies can query a product’s status and location at any point in time.”
Deloitte urges companies to keep tabs on industry peers that have already started using blockchain to improve their supply chain management, noting that this technology will really benefit from reaching critical mass. In other words, follow the crowd on this one to reap the benefits.
Start at your stop
If all this sounds intriguing, make a point of learning how state-of-the-art tech like blockchain can bring your supply chain to the next level. Register for a nearby stop on the ASCM Supply Chain Tour, which features tech talks and special educational sessions centered around the synchronized planning domain of the Digital Capabilities Model (DCM).
The DCM is designed to help supply chain professionals visualize and build digitally enabled capabilities to transform their linear supply chains into a set of dynamic networks. Each capability is mapped to relevant elements in the SCOR Digital Standard, which acknowledges how the adoption of digital technologies, including blockchain, has forever altered the once-linear supply chain model; today, the SCOR-DS underscores that supply chain is synchronous.
The ASCM Supply Chain Tour is making stops in 14 cities this April through November. I hope you’ll join your peers for this immersive, day-long experience to learn, discuss, network and benchmark your own organization’s digital capabilities.