Will Blockchains revolutionise supply chain collaboration?

October 5, 2016
Neil Moon
, ,
bitcoin and blockchains

There are an increasing amount of articles promoting how blockchains will revolutionise so many industries. This fervour seems to have been picked up by supply chain professionals. But will it really make a difference in any but niche applications?

As a supply chain professional with a few years’ experience, grey beard and waistline to match I maybe not the right person to answer this, but I do feel I represent the body of supply chain decision makers better than the finance and technology specialists who seem to be promoting blockchains.

The promise is of trillion dollar savings to global trade

…And examples of many organisations starting to explore their application

…But the benefits seem to be focussed on the supply chain transactional process and in particular on the finance.

This may be so but changing the world’s banking and finance systems is at best a slow process and is unlikely to help smaller or emerging market trade where the benefits seem to be greatest.

Perhaps I am not seeing the whole picture. While trade finance is very important in global supply chains, I believe the biggest gains are in collaboration between all the parties in a supply chain and across supply chains.

Technology can help as a platform to assist this but fundamentally good collaboration comes from sharing and trusting. If you have to hide behind an encrypted platform to trade then I doubt you have the right relationship to collaborate. People have to overcome their concerns about sharing data across business silos, legal and commercial boundaries to unlock their full potential.

Blockchains or something similar, will become a core part of supply chain transactional tools and not in the too distant future. Those involved in global trade should recognise this and be ready to adopt the technology as it matures. However until we collaborate along and across supply chains I doubt we will see the trillion dollar savings to global trade.