Welcome to the July 2016 edition of Supply Chain Navigator.
A couple of years ago, when Bitcoin seemed to be poised to completely upend global transaction systems, I had an inkling that the real revolution from the cryptocurrency craze would come from its underlying technology platform – the blockchain. Judging from the buzz around blockchain at the recent Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, I think it is safe to say that my instinct was right on the mark on this one.
As the backbone of a cryptocurrency system, blockchain acts as a distributed permanent database that records every Bitcoin transaction, and transmits this record real time to every node (independent computers) connected to the network to establish and maintain data authenticity. This is how blockchain technology can provide trust in a network without a central authority.
It was, and still is, a truly revolutionary concept that has more recently been adopted for a variety of applications outside of the currency realm. Australia-based everledger has developed a blockchain-based platform that brings the technology into the supply chain domain. The everledger fraud detection system creates a permanent ledger for diamond certification and associated transactions. The company asserts that their technology can be extended to track any asset that carries a unique identifier.
Blockchain has also captured the attention of some big dogs in technology like IBM, which recently launched its “Bluemix Garage,” in New York – a sort of skunk works for accelerating design and development of blockchain applications.
“It is clear to me that blockchain has the potential to truly transform the B2B supply chain, making it stronger, more secure and more profitable”
While blockchain is not likely to ever find its way into the commodity component arena, it is not hard to imagine that someday, some iteration of this technology could be deployed to prove provenance for high-end ICs, PCBs and sub systems, stopping the billion dollar counterfeit component market in its tracks. Just what the future holds for this technology, I cannot say, but it is clear to me that blockchain has the potential to truly transform the B2B supply chain, making it stronger, more secure and, by eliminating (or at least reducing) fraud, more profitable.
Until that day comes, however, members of the electronics supply chain must remain vigilant in their attempts to mitigate the counterfeit risk. In our Supply Chain Spotlight feature we share insights from some practitioners and industry insiders about this risk, and others that are not as commonly discussed as we believe they should be – including supply chain fraud, waste and abuse, and water scarcity. We also bring you early results of the 2015 Global Risk Maturity Survey from the Global Risk Advisory group, led by MIT professor David Simchi-Levi and Infosys President Ravi Kumar, as well as an exclusive One-on-One with Schneider Electric’s Annette Clayton, who was named CEO and President of Schneider Electric North America just days after we spoke with her. Annette is an incredibly smart leader and a gifted communicator – you don’t want to miss this interview.
Hope you enjoy the issue and don’t forget to weigh in on our Chain Reactions question: Do multinational manufacturers owe allegiance to promote jobs/the economy in their home regions?
Until Next Time,
Many thanks to the Supply Chain Navigator Editorial Advisory Board for their support and guidance:
- Blog: Cryptocurrency’s Core Value Emerges
- Article: Why Singularity University’s CEO Believes Blockchain Has Gone ‘Exponential’
- Article: We’re About to Live in a Blockchain-Based World
- Initiative: Hyperledger Project
- Report: IBM Blockchain