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Currently, many industry analysts are also talking about blockchain-a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions-and the role it will play in the supply chain in 2018 and beyond.

As part of those conversations, Gartner, in its “2018 Top 8 Supply Chain Technology Trends You Can’t Ignore” report, says that while most supply chain management related blockchain initiatives are nascent at this point, it’s ripe territory for blockchain concepts because of the distributed, multi-enterprise nature of complex global value chains that routinely conduct business among multiple parties.

“Supply chain management trails other areas in consideration of blockchain technologies. However, certain highly decentralized supply chain management functions are prime candidates for this technology, such as smart contracts or traceability and authentication,” the Gartner report states, pointing out how Walmart is using blockchain to track packages of mangoes from farm to store shelves and Maersk Line is using it to share shipping data and enable multiple parties to select insurance terms.

“I’m skeptical about blockchain because more than 50% of inbound messages are still in EDI format-technology that’s 30 years old-and expecting those same companies to use blockchain is unrealistic,” says Gartner’s McNeill. “However, we’ve already identified a few use cases where the technology may be applicable, although overall adoption is going to be slow and low.”

Capgemini’s Sethi has a slightly rosier outlook, but admits that the integration of blockchain and global trade is still very much in its infancy. “Some software providers have made progress in this area, and I personally think blockchain is the technology that will power global trade in the future,” he says,” especially with most of that activity coming to the Cloud versus through on-premise software. I’m confident that once vendors start incorporating blockchain technology into their software solutions, shippers will get excited about it.”

-Bridget McCrea, contributing editor

Copyright Peerless Media Feb 2018

 

This article was written by Bridget McCrea from Logistics Management (2002) and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.