Can Blockchain Help to Build Better Supply Chains and Customer Relationships?

By Deborah Dobson posted 03-28-2018 10:55


Can Blockchain Help to Build Better Supply Chains and Customer Relationships?

Blockchain technology has the potential to completely disrupt the current supply chain ecosystem, not only on the supply side of an organizations business, but also on the customer-facing interactions. Blockchain can better assure the customer on the quality, reliability, authenticity and safety of the product. Supply chain partners would know for certain if an ordered item was on its way.

There have already been some blockchain supply chain solutions that have gone into production. Some of the first blockchain solutions started at the product point of origin. Blockchain has been used to trace non-GMO wheat in fields, sushi-grade tuna in Indonesia and pork in China. These blockchains prove provenance – that the item is genuine, safe to use or consume, or produced in accordance with certain standards.

Diamond Industry players such as De Beers and Fura Gems are looking into blockchain to solve the problems of fraud and falsification. Blood diamonds, also known as conflict diamonds, continue to be a major problem in the industry. This usually occurs when militia, rebel or government-backed troops take physical control of the mines, most often in Africa. They use the diamonds to fund continued violence against citizen populations.

Beginning in 2018, De Beers, which mines, trades and markets over 30% of the world’s supply of diamonds, announced that it will create the first blockchain ledger for tracing stones from the mine to when they are sold to the consumer. Only those with permission can enter or edit data on the blockchain database. In this case, it is those overseeing the enter supply chain process giving reassurance that the stones are certified as conflict or child-labor free.

Since everything is decentralized, anyone can go into the ledger and see the movement of a particular stone or set of stones. They can check the provenance of their stone and feel confident that the record wasn’t altered by any parties attempting to pass off conflict or fake stones as genuine.

With counterfeit goods costing the United States between $180 billion and $540 billion annually, blockchain technology could solve this problem. Introducing blockchain into the supply chain promises faster, more secure supply chains and consumer confidence leading to a loyal consumer.