Blockchain revolutionising supply chain management

Yesterday, the French hypermarket giant Carrefour announced that it would be investing most of its…...

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Yesterday, the French hypermarket giant Carrefour announced that it would be investing most of its $2bn investment budget into blockchain solutions and building an online delivery mechanism.

The initiative is being led by Carrefour CEO Alexandre Bompard, who explained that this new digital expansion has been designed to increase the accuracy of supply chain management, respond to consumer preferences via better transparency, and bolster e-commerce overall.

Carrefour is planning to initiate a blockchain ledger at some point in early 2018. A major priority is to enhance the traceability of products, particularly when it comes to food. Bompard emphasised that food quality is a significant driving force of success in the ever-competitive supermarket sector. This development has been driven by a shift in the preferences of consumers towards the added value arising from greater sustainability and transparency when it comes to the origins of the food products that they purchase.

Bompard’s initiative also aims to address the potential harm to the Carrefour brand that might emerge with foodborne illnesses. Inefficient recall execution and slow response rates in the event of an outbreak might be particularly costly, stemming from their obligations to the customer.

These kinds of fears and the subsequent objectives to bolster supply chain transparency now provide many opportunities for software solutions to thrive, in particular with blockchain.

If a business or company has a ledger which coexists with RFID tagging throughout the entire supply chain, they would ultimately create a system where shipping documents are stored in one place, helping to monitor supplier quality and promote food safety.

Carrefour is not the only brand exploring the vast potential of blockchain technology: the US supermarket leviathan Walmart has also taken considerable steps towards integrating it as well.

Towards the end of 2017, Walmart joined forces with IBM to design a unique ledger across its vast network of suppliers. They tested the pilot program while tracking mango shipments. The new system cut tracking time down from several days to just two seconds. The improved traceability means that they can now guarantee the authenticity of food while following it from “hook to fork”.

Today, technological and digital innovation in blockchain technology is overhauling how we understand the world of supply chain management.

Nick Ford

Nick has over 30 years procurement experience in consulting, outsourcing and line roles within industry with international experience across many sectors and industries and led many procurement programs with blue chip organisations.

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