Now Is The Time for Retailers to Start Experimenting with Blockchain
Writing by Yiping Hao, July 23rd, 2018
There is a growing concern about sustainability among consumers, CPG manufacturers, and retailers. The amount of resources we have are limited, but at the same time, consumers demand higher quality of service and more accurate information. However, the standards of services and products are different around the world, which could be due to language barriers, economic development, and more importantly, cultural diversity. These challenges have a direct impact on retail sourcing, product development and the end-to-end supply chain processes.
Supply Chain Blockages
The are several blockages to the traditional supply chain: data fragmentation, bad data, bad characters, and the way we think. Information is the lifeblood of an organization and transparency is what allows it to flow, if the information is shared in silos and is limited, its possiable the information is no longer on time or accurate by the time a problem occurs.
Bad characters are almost impossible to eliminate within the global supply chain, the problem could be an employee or a partner creating and spreading false information to damage the company. To prevent this situation from happening, organizations need to think like a criminal, simply searching through a sourcing management software platform or become a customer to find vulnerabilities and help to mitigate risk resulting in costly damages.
How We Think
Changing the way we think is just as important, so instead of compliance or quality control transparency, when issues arise, retailers need to shift focus to value based quality assurance transparency that eliminates supply chain issues before they accure. Retail supply chain management software helps to increase trust and enhances the supply chain relationship management, especially in the retail industry. Transparency involves truth, honesty, sincerity, clarity and accuracy. Having such standards within an organization can help to find specific areas that need improvement. One way to do so is to utilize industry standards like GS1, or integrating sourcing software suppliers to enhance transparency and gain more consumer trust.
The Power of Blockchain
Blockchain technology, PLM Software and Global Sourcing Software can be the answer to many of the traditional retail supply chain problems, but it could take decades to be fully implemented. There is already one successful example of blockchain – that is Bitcoin. The three main technologies involved in the Bitcoin blockchain is Small Contracts, Encryption, and Distributed Ledgers, which all pre-date Bitcoin.
An example of blockchain effectiveness is Walmart’s product safety recall of a mango. Without blockchain, tracing back the source of a mango took almost seven days, which would be difficult to find out when and where a problem occurred. With blockchain implementation, a problem or a quality issues can be easily prevented or solved and as a result of the mango case study, it only took 2.2 seconds to trace to the source and track the supply movements of the mango.