Blockchain – Game changer or just more hype and fancy words? Some say a true disruptor in the industry.
Definition (drum roll please) – a distributed database that holds records of digital data or events in a way that makes them tamper-resistant. Each record is a block that contains a time stamp and a link to a previous block.
Being in supply chain over 30 years we have all seen some ideas come and go, some great, some not so great. Keeping up with the technology and terminology in supply chain is a job in itself. There are a lot of great resources you can be a part of, subscribe to and attend to in keeping up your team mojo in the market place. If you are in the profession of Supply Chain consider joining a great association and keep your knowledge up to date, while connecting with many industry experts anxious to share their knowledge.
Blockchain brings another tool to the table. The management of digital data for all to see but no one can tamper with. Many users can share, access, inspect and even add data, but they can not alter or delete it. It creates a chain of data integrity for many businesses to work with but not worry about data security or integrity. Call it a universal data bank that makes it easier and more secure for businesses to work together using the internet.
Originally the application Bitcoin was a popular use of this technology. Now suppliers are realizing the value of this tool with non-monetary applications.
The value this brings in supply chain is the ability to securely and with great transparency track anything you want in the supply chain transactional realm. You can track your documents such as Purchase Orders, receipts, shipment notifications as well as exact locations of your assets as they move through the logistics world.
Some of the potential benefits is your ability to see touch points, better security of information, growing the block chain members, expanding the opportunity for innovation. It creates the ultimate platform for transparency by auditors. Fraud recognition becomes more easily spotted in the supply chain. This builds on the relationships across the supply chain, provides transparency and creates a model for continuous innovation.
One thing for sure is, the world transacts at a faster pace then ever, and demands solutions that provide visibility and accountability in the supply chain, and most importantly the data must be secure in an un-hackable way.
Does it fit every business? Well it could and that is the beauty, its scalable. Some industries continue to test, others are jumping on board, others can jump on later. The fact you can keep adding blocks of data to the chain are limitless. When should you consider jumping on board? A good question worth pursuing as the initiative grows.