Blockchains in Supply Chain Management: A Deeper Look (Part 3)
The benefits of blockchain technology in supply chain management are immense, as discussed in part two of this series. This is why the number of companies exploring blockchain solutions has risen steadily for the last couple of years. With this rise, a need for startups that develop customized blockchain supply chain solutions has also arose, and the challenge has been accepted by developers worldwide. With some startups focusing solely on specific aspects of the supply chain such as data availability and automation of processes, others have offered an all-encompassing suite of products that cater to the industry in general.
This Mountain View, California-based startup is one of the most renowned players in the blockchain supply chain solutions industry. Founded by Srinivasan Sriram, who serves as its CEO, Skuchain delivers a platform for collaborative commerce to its clients. Identifying divergent standards, opaque mechanics in international commerce, and unavailability of data to all supply chain participants as being some of the biggest challenges in the market today, Skuchain has partnered with other tech companies such as Japan’s NTT Data to develop customized solutions to solve these challenges. Among them are blockchain-based inventory financing and a track-and-trace system that uses RFID technology.
Sofocle Technologies is an Indian startup that provides a wide range of blockchain solutions catering to the financial services, insurance and supply chain sectors. SofoChain, its supply chain solutions product, helps businesses securely and transparently track goods as they move from one node to the other in the supply chain. SofoChain creates digital passports of physical assets as they move from any participant in the supply chain to the next, such as from a manufacturer to the supplier. These goods are also assigned physical attributes such as colors and qualities. This makes it easy to monitor the condition of goods and ensure that any harm done is traced to a particular participant, and that goods whose quality has been compromised can be traced and recalled. Barcodes, RFIDs and serial numbers are the properties of goods used to assign digital identities to these goods.
Based in London, Provenance is a startup whose mission is to enable businesses to generate trust in their products and help the final consumer make an informed decision on the products they purchase. Unlike Sofocle and Skuchain, whose core focus is enterprise use, Provenance seeks to avail data collected in the supply chain process to final consumers so they can be more empowered when deciding on the products they wish to purchase. True to its name, Provenance seeks to help the final consumer track the origin of a product as well as its progress through the supply chain. This will create trust in brands that deliver quality, and those whose quality is compromised will just as easily be identified and avoided. Provenance’s data solutions can be integrated into any physical product through smart tags, labeling and embedding onto a website or mobile app. Their pilot project was tested for tracing tuna fish in Indonesia from the shore to the final consumer with great results.
Eximchain, whose name was derived from Export-Import on Blockchain, was founded in 2015 at MIT and has since developed cutting-edge blockchain solutions for the supply chain industry. Their suite of products ensures efficiency, security and transparency in the supply chain. Among their products is supply chain financing in which a startup uses smart contracts to allow financial institutions to verify the validity of orders placed and provide the necessary financing. Eximchain also facilitates seamless inventory management by enabling clients to share demand and inventory information across a common ledger.
These are just a few of the startups that are pioneering the use of blockchain technology in supply chain management. Tech giants like IBM, SAP and Oracle are also doing research and development of supply chain solutions which are being tested by companies like Walmart and Maersk. As development progresses, the supply chain will experience a revolution that will improve efficiency and transparency, at the center of which will be blockchain technology.
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