blockchain chainIt’s true that blockchain is in many ways just another technology looking to intrude on EDI’s entrenched place in the B2B world. But there are issues with the way we’ve dealt with supply chain documents that even after 40 years, have not been sufficiently addressed. Blockchain may have that silver bullet that makes the benefits of adoption worth the pain of change.

what is the blockchain and why is it so importantEDI documents and the supply chain data ecosystem seems to be pretty secure. By secure I mean that it’s rare to hear of any cyber breaches affecting commerce. Most often cyber attacks are identified in POS systems and other environments where consumer information is stolen and sold. But just because it isn’t a hot news topic doesn’t mean it can’t or doesn’t happen. And because the documents that run the order processing systems across the globe were created long before cyber warfare was a real threat, new ways of protecting them are being introduced.

The consumer world seems overwhelmingly digital. From smartphones and smartwatches to IoT devices like thermostats and Amazon Alexa we’re constantly and instantly connected. But what about the supply chain? Is every order initiated by an automated function and passed along at light speed to the manufacturer who instructs their robots to build the order and put it on a pallet?

chatbotsYou’ve likely encountered chatbots even if they didn’t introduce themselves as such. Today you’re most likely to encounter them when you call a customer support hotline or online chat service. They ask questions and deliver answers and act surprisingly like human operators… except they’re much more quickly available.

IotIt wasn’t long ago that Apple was lauded for its finesse in managing its supply chain. Getting its bazillions of iPhones from China to the US and everywhere else required some groundbreaking advances and a lot of tight controls. Those lessons have gone mainstream as the world took notice and of the company’s strategies and success. And partly because of that expansion, the supply chain now extends to areas as unexpected as social media.