There are two terms seen a lot in juxtaposition to supply chain lately: coronavirus and blockchain. One is putting a lot of stress on the supply chain, while the other is ready to revolutionize it. Some new use cases and a new report put blockchain and the supply chain in perspective.
First, it is becoming evident that blockchain is becoming something of a “safe deposit box” for retail data, offering a digital method for storing and sharing data between multiple stakeholders. For example, if a merchandise manager needs to set inventory levels for a national chain, several participants can view the data – including the supplier, if they are on the permission list for that block. Large-scale networks, in particular, can leverage this feature, which leads into two other retail advantages: Blockchain data updates itself, and because its permissions are limited, they can’t be falsified by a third party.
That “single version of the truth” (similar to a bank balance) is the blockchain version of trust.
“Blockchain looks to create trust within a network in a different way,” according to Lexology, a U.K.-based tech site. “Rather than there just being a single master copy of the database, each participant in the network holds their own copy of the same database. That is why blockchain is referred to as being distributed or decentralized. As everyone in the blockchain network has an identical copy of the database, each participant knows with confidence that ‘what I see is what you see.’”
The Chain Integration Project (CHIP), a blockchain proof-of-concept initiative supported by leading manufacturers and retailers organized by Auburn University, showed that blockchain and RFID technologies, when combined, amplify value for retailers. Using serialized data exchange, blockchain and RFID can reduce or eliminate the need for human oversight in inventory management and other core aspects of supply chain…