Page 10 - Case Study Annual 2018
P. 10

Thought Leadership

                    Blockchain in the

                              supply chain

                                             By Dr Craig Voortman, Supply Chain Logistics Research Scientist, CESCL Center of
                                          Excellence for Supply Chain & Logistics Yanbu, Saudi Arabia,

                          Exploring the practical use of blockchain in supply chain management.

            GLOBALISATION HAS changed our world. We            a global trend towards digitization, specifi cally
            source products from a multitude of worldwide      digitization of the paperwork in the supply
            locations and we often use a number of             chain, and piggybacking on this move comes a
            modes of transport to do so as supplies cross      new integrative technology called ‘blockchain’.
            international borders. We now have faster
            vessels with greater capacity, robot-operated      What are blockchains?
            ports and vast computer databases to track our     Blockchains are a shared supply chain record
            cargo movements. The resulting global cargo        creating greater visibility and security within
            movements have increased the tons and tons of      supply chains. A blockchain is a shared
            paperwork that are required. All the paperwork     digital ledger that records transactions and
            increases the administrative pressure and          movements of products and/or created
            complexity for key people involved in making       services in such a way that it makes them
            the supply chain work, and for those who must      visible and accessible to multiple approved
            make shipped products reach end customer           participants in the supply chain, while keeping
            destinations.                                      transactions safe and secure. Blockchains can
               As we move towards a digitalized global         create visibility for customers at any stage in
            economy, many things are becoming automated        a supply chain, from one end to the other end,
            and digital. Payments to suppliers and across      as well as for any other approved members of
            the supply chain are already happening             the chain. Blockchains can also create greater
            electronically and digitally at the click of a     security and accuracy within the supply chain.
            mouse, and much faster than before, but the        They can monitor the fl ow of movements of
            paperwork driving supply chains still slows the    products or services at exact times and places
            local and global chain down. Clearing items        geographically so easily nowadays, thanks to
            through port authorities often takes time and      satellite communication and radio frequency
            involves mounds of paperwork. However, there is    identifi cation device (RFID) tags.

        8                                                                The Logistics News Case Study Annual 2018
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