If you’re paying any attention at all to news stories about supply chain you’re noticing that a single issue is vying for your attention. I’ve been mentioning blockchain myself quite a bit, but with a slightly jaded view. Here’s what I’m seeing most recently.
Blockchain as a database is being touted as a “Supply Chain Revolution” that started with cryptocurrency and is migrating to more general use as a secure way to store transactions for business. Certainly the security of order and transport information is important and if companies are able to address latency and processing cost issues, blockchain will have an impact on keeping the data that drives our supply chains intact and unmodifiable.
The chances that these issues will be, or maybe even are being resolved is evidenced by the number and size of the comanies working on the problems. Here’s just a short list of those companies claiming an interest in making things work.
SAP is working on blockchain for its cloud platform specifically to address its supply chain system.
UPS apparently believes blockchain will help manage its tracking and package management operations because the company filed a patent application for its version of the tech.
IBM is teaming with Maersk, the shipping giant, to bring its TradeLens to bear on global trade.
The United Nations is evaluating blockchain for a possible role in its own global supply chain.
The US Department of Homeland Security is adding staff to look into securing the government supply chain with blockchain.
These are only the large players in the blockchain development effort pool. There are hundreds or possibly thousands of other smaller players each devoting resources to solving the not insignificant issues surrounding the reality of blockchain for use in the supply chain. We'll keep an eye on developments. As to how this affects the complexity of transaction translation, we have yet to see a viable answer.