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Supply Chain Transformation to Meet Your Evolving Business Needs

Sogeti Labs
April 04, 2018


Transform your supply chain to a one that integrates your global suppliers and engages them through a friction-less network, enabling you to scale and evolve your business



Digital transformations are disrupting the way we work, we conduct business and arguably all other facets of our lives. They seem to be the most significant business trend in the current times.

In the enterprise world, most of the digital transformations are currently being applied either inside a single organization or between an enterprise and it’s customers. But there exists another opportunity that may be the biggest and the most important transformation of all, that of bringing an Enterprise and all its partners and consumers on a single network across the value chain. Also referred as Supply Chain Transformation.

Supply Chain of a modern enterprise spans the entire globe integrating the trade partners, logistics partners, regulators and other statutory bodies, port authorities, the banking system, the retail partners and very importantly the customers. A key factor in any organizations success is how successfully it can orchestrate this network and keep it working smoothly and scaling to meet the evolving business objectives.

The technology that is forming the backbone of this transformation of the Supply Chain is Blockchain. Blockchain forms a tightly integrated web of all the participants in the supply chain. It helps them transact in a fair and transparent manner, in accordance to well defined and agreed upon business rules. Technologies like Smart Contracts on Blockchain provide for the quick and unambiguous resolution of complex situations thus promoting a friction-less platform. The participation of the regulators greatly reduces the compliance cost in terms of both time and money. Integration with the banking network means automated payments based on rules agreed in the purchase order. The integration of customers means a never before shopping experience of knowing everything about the product before buying.

While bringing about the Supply Chain Transformations using Blockchain, you must consider the following 3 most important issues:

  1. Scalability: One of the shortcomings of Blockchains is that they don’t scale very well.  Applications like Supply Chain need to cater to millions of transactions and TBs of data per year. If not designed properly, the system could quickly become a bottleneck, affecting the very functioning of the network it was summoned to optimize.
  2. Data Security: Blockchain manages various sets of data.  Some of this data is required for tractability and some that need to be private. Within the data sets, there are further bifurcations. Like data required for tractability might have some data only accessible to the regulator and the party involved.  This calls for a well planned and properly implemented Data Management Layer.
  3. Blockchain Internetworking: By nature, Supply Chain integrates with other networks like the banking network, the identity network, and other such networks. While planning to interface with other networks you should ensure that the trust and scalability requirement of the network is maintained.

Integrating this Blockchain network with IOT sensors embedded in Containers, Transport Vehicles, and other Supply Chain assets enable the Supply Chain to have increased visibility in its various processes and also be automated to a great extent. One such use of IOT in Supply Chain is Asset Tracking wherein asset is tracked throughout its lifecycle. Data like the container temperature during transportation, time spent in transportation, the time the product took to be sold off the shelf can then be used to improve the delivery time, quality control, demand forecasting and many others. Automation of Quality control using IOT would mean that a non-conformance is immediately registered by the Smart contract which could then handle the situation through notifications, penalizations, and product quality updations.

Blockchain being the backbone of the Transformed Supply Chain lends itself to another interesting use case, that of ownership management. On purchasing a product the customer’s mobile number gets registered on the blockchain. The blockchain system then uses the mobile number to query the Identity Provider and registers the product to that identity. The new owner can further transact and sell the product. This way the new buyer gets an assurance that the seller is a legal owner and allows the manufacturer to track the product and it’s current owner for better servicing/warranty management and also data collection.

So how close are we to realize this dream. Let me answer this by saying that we are there. There are challenges like network connectivity, IOT enablement of Assets, Stakeholder on-boarding, and the nascence of banking networks. But all of these problems are solvable, and the solution mostly varies from case to case.

We at P&ES HiTech have been involved in bringing these transformations to our customers across varied domains. Let us connect to explore the opportunities.

About the author

SogetiLabs gathers distinguished technology leaders from around the Sogeti world. It is an initiative explaining not how IT works, but what IT means for business.


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