Without a doubt, the hottest buzzword in supply chain management right now is blockchain. A distributed digital ledger, blockchain records all transactions so that that they cannot be retroactively altered. In essence, it provides "one version of the truth."
Because consumers and trading partners have high expectations when it comes to the completeness, accuracy, and speed in which data is received, companies are excited about blockchain's potential to securely transmit data efficiently and effectively. However, many are still struggling to understand what blockchain is and how it can be used.
To help companies better understand the technology's potential, Melanie Nuce, senior vice president, corporate development, for the standards organization GS1 US, has written a Hot Topics report for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) on "Blockchain and Data Sharing."
She explains that it's time for all companies to move beyond the educational stage of blockchain awareness and create a foundation that will allow blockchain to scale efficiently and profitably. Creating such a foundation is important because manual processes no longer have the capability to support the Internet of Things, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other innovations disrupting the industry, she says.
The report outlines how blockchain differs from previous data-sharing structures and provides examples of current pilot programs being conducted by companies such as Walmart, Cargill, and Coca-Cola. It also emphasizes that collaboration with other companies is key. Nuce argues that the current environment is ripe for companies to "take the necessary steps now to learn how the existing framework can be leveraged and extended for future success."
The Hot Topics report can be ordered here. The report is free for CSCMP members and costs US $50 for nonmembers.