What is Blockchain’s Role in Supply Chain Management?

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If you’ve heard of Bitcoin or Ethereum, you’ve heard what blockchain technology is capable of. Blockchain’s potential to alter whole industries has been toted for months now, but not fully realized by any means. However, the potential is far too large to ignore, particularly in the supply chain management (SCM) sector. SupplyPike’s first move toward embracing the technology was by launching Ship, the first freight marketplace to accept Bitcoin as payment. (Click here to check it out.) SupplyPike CEO Dan Sanker was among six blockchain experts recently interviewed by The Future of Everything.io about the role the technology will have in supply chain management.

What assets of blockchain could apply to supply chain management? 

Future of Everything’s Nick Hastreiter listed six qualities of blockchain that best apply to SCM:
  1. Immutable – meaning it’s unable to be changed or deleted after being created. Whatever is recorded will remain, uncensored.
  2. Distributed – Are you aware that international shipping still uses a paper bill of lading system? It’s incredibly outdated from an efficiency [and] ease of use [standpoint]. It is susceptible to a single point of failure like a fire, as well. Data stored on the blockchain is stored across multiple nodes. This storage allows data to be viewed via a block explorer from anywhere in the world. 
  3. Connected in a “chain” – Notice how supply chain management and blockchain have this in common? It’s a small hint showing how a series of historically “chained” together data can be followed throughout the life cycle. 
  4. Secure – Blockchains are amongst the most secure systems in the world. For the most reputable platforms, the only way to be hacked is from a user-error point of view, not a technology flaw. 
  5. Fast – Depending on the goals of the blockchain, data can be written almost instantaneously. And because it’s distributed and trustless, it’s available anywhere in the world. The worry about tampered data is eliminated. 
  6. Easy to confirm – If you want to verify a transaction or data, just scan a QR or hop on the block explorer. 

What’s the future of blockchain in supply chain management?

Dan Sanker aptly answered this question by showing how blockchain could apply to (or replace) old-school technology like EDI.
“The blockchain is a perfect solution for a lot of supply chain issues. Imagine supply chain in a blockchain world. Shippers and carriers discover each other without intermediaries, execute smart contracts to define any requirements, pay each other with crypto instantly and without transaction fees or risks, and track load movements (from warehouses to transportation – even temperature changes, tampering, damages, etc). Retailers place orders on the chain instead of EDI – which is so old it was originally designed for the Berlin Airlift; they manage recalls of dangerous food recalls as they reverse the supply chain. All trading partners have access when they need it, have their modifications verified and confirmed – all on an honest, immutable ledger that nobody (and everybody) controls.” 
You can read up on other expert takes from companies like JDA Software, Slync, and DLT Labs by visiting FutureOfEverything.io.  
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