Q&A: Recent Blockchain Developments Driving Supply Chain Automation and Global Trade Momentum

Distributed Logistics

Been awhile since have shared an update on recent #blockchain developments and how it’s starting to impact #globaltrade and the #SupplyChain, so here goes!

To facilitate this effort, see below a quick Q&A with the above in mind!

Q: What are the hurdles to the adoption of blockchain in trade?

A: The major hurdles blockchain currently faces are education/misinformation and too many options/variables at play for supply chain and global trade managers to make sound decisions.

Education, because many still are not clear on what blockchain is and what it can do for their supply chains to facilitate global trade and other benefits. Misinformation relative to the difference between blockchain and bitcoin, as well as confusion around some of the technical hurdles such as use of computing power and various methods of transaction validation.

Bringing some stability and sense to blockchain are real world applications logistics professionals can observe which have gained traction and are expanding rapidly and spawning new entities such as Tradelens. This new company has now recently emerged from the blockchain collaboration between Maersk and IBM. Already more than 154 million global trade events have been captured on the platform and this total is growing by one million transactions per day.

Q: Analysts say this technology can bring more transparency and efficiency to the industry. How could this technology bolster global trade volumes?

A: There’s no doubt that transparency and efficiency in supply chain transactions can lead to lower costs and faster movement of global shipments. Increasing speed will lead to greater momentum of shipment capacities/volumes and this momentum will lead to even more significant trade being moved across the globe on an annual basis.

As well, coupling these technologies with the hunger for greater global sourcing for consumer e-commerce will cause this effect to be even further magnified by growing consumer demand in both established and developing economies around the globe.

These approaches to more broadly manage all aspects of the global supply chain process were highlighted in my previous article Moving Beyond Global Trade Management to Deliver on Global Commerce Management and blockchain can facilitate data management for these processes at scale.

Q: How do you see this shift impacting businesses and/or the supply chain?

A: In the end it’s all about automation, accuracy and speed which combined will reduce costs, accelerate shipment speed and volumes, as well as reducing if not eliminating errors which are currently slowing down the shipment process.

Additionally, the more combined shipping information available in real time the better when it comes to identifying and capitalizing on synergies between different shippers to even further increase utilization and reduce costs.

Q: What else can be done to further facilitate blockchain adoption and the increase of global trade? How can one learn more and participate in making these changes happen?

A: In order to complete the transition to a blockchain future will require a more holistic solution which also incorporates and merges other emerging technologies into the solution.

This is something I call The Supply Chain Singularity with the additional components of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) connective technologies, Robotics and Big Data (semantic). As the ultimate solution or Supply Chain Network emerges, these technologies will symbiotically interact to function optimally and in unison for the most positive outcome.

In order for the SCN to manifest itself will require the development of blockchain components for Product Data, B2C & B2B Sales as well as synergy collaboration components.

To learn more and participate further in these efforts, you may want to join the Blockchain – Supply Chain Network Group here on LinkedIn and weigh in with your input, comments and ideas!


Jeff Ashcroft

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