May 17, 2020

In blockchain we trust: knowing the source of our daily bread

Supply Chain
Charley Cooper, Managing Direc...
3 min
Consumers are increasingly taking ethical and environmental considerations into account when making food choices.

This demand calls on the FMCG industr...

Consumers are increasingly taking ethical and environmental considerations into account when making food choices.

This demand calls on the FMCG industry to show where our food comes from, the conditions in which it has been created and processes used to bring it to our plate. This, along with more tight control of origin country when it comes to imports, means that businesses are faced with the growing need to achieve transparency in their food sourcing process. 

With incidents like the 2018 romaine lettuce E.coli outbreak still fresh in the minds of the public, the need to build secure systems to trace products from farm to fork has never been so important. However, with food supply chains crossing multiple continents and many companies - from growers, to processors and packagers - making sure what comes out of the ground is what goes on your table is a huge challenge. Typically, food supply chain data is kept across many systems. This prevents food providers – not to mention consumers – from gaining a comprehensive overview of transactions. 

Blockchain offers a solution to these challenges. The immutable and permanent trail of transactions held on blockchain systems are a welcome asset in the mission for transparency across complex supply chain ecosystems. Private, permissioned blockchain, where users are verified before they can join the network, provides a unique approach to security and privacy. This allows participants to share data without revealing highly sensitive information. 


Blockchain’s role in supply chain visibility could also create real-time risk mitigation. With blockchain, it would be possible to identify exactly where in a supply chain a corrupted batch of produce became contaminated, giving suppliers the opportunity to mitigate and manage risk from travelling further along the chain. This plays a particularly important role when it comes to food, where identifying contamination quickly can literally mean the difference between life and death. 

When it comes to food, trust is vital. Again, blockchain can deliver. Permissioned blockchain is by far the most effective way to ensure the information stores can be trusted. Since blockchain has an in-built proof mechanism, data cannot be altered or tampered with, providing a single source of truth on the product’s history. With a full journey in sight, suppliers and retailers can take extra precautions over their data to improve product safety and reduce fraud. 

As solutions come to the fore, one thing is clear: the goal for supply chains to have more integrity, inclusivity and interoperability is well underway. The aforementioned E. coli outbreak in 2018 spurred the FDA to encourage a more rapid adoption of technologies to detect water source problems and usage of blockchains to better trace food to the source to improve detection and resolution. Blockchain is poised to offer the FMCG industry its most valuable tool to transform the way we consume food and deliver meaningful insights as to where our food comes from. 

Examples of Industry Projects

R3 have partnered with Ripe Technology, Inc. the innovative startup bringing blockchain to the food industry, to improve transparency and trust in food and agriculture supply chains through the digitization and enterprise adoption of blockchain. The cooperation will enable to continue its mission to build long-lasting trust and confidence in the food supply chain through a platform where everyone will be able to access transparent and reliable information on the origin, the journey, sustainability and the quality of their food. are using blockchain to produce a real story of food with complete traceability that connects the many players involved in the processing chain.

For more information on procurement, supply chain and logistics topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Supply Chain Digital magazine.

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By Charley Cooper, Managing Director at R3

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Aug 5, 2021

Accenture Acquires SCM Software Firm Blue Horseshoe

2 min
Accenture acquires supply chain management specialist Blue Horseshoe, expanding the scale and capabilities of its Supply Chain & Operations group

Accenture has announced its acquisition of Blue Horseshoe, a US-based supply chain management software provider and consultancy firm. 

Upon completion, Blue Horseshoe’s 349 professionals will join Accenture’s Supply Chain & Operations group, expanding the professional services group’s capabilities to create more interconnected and resilient supply chains for clients. 

“To be competitive, companies need to transform their supply chains to deliver the innovative and hyper-personalised products, services and experiences that are in high demand—and fulfilment is core to that transformation,” said Renato Scaff, Accenture’s Supply Chain & Operations North America lead. “Blue Horseshoe’s deep fulfilment consulting experience and methodologies support Accenture’s vision for building customer-centric, resilient and responsible supply chains that benefit people, society and the planet.”

Who are Blue Horseshoe? 

  • Founded: 2001
  • CEO: Chris Cason
  • Employees: 349
  • Offices: 4 in USA, 1 in Amsterdam, 1 in Estonia
  • Key customers: Lids, Pabst Brewing Co., Half Price Books, Britax, Major Brands

Founded in 2001 in Indiana, USA, Blue Horseshoe now operates from six offices across the US and Europe. The company provides cloud-based solutions for supply chain management, ERP, warehouse management and transportation management systems, including its own Supply Chain Cloud platform, as well as Oracle NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management as a Microsoft Inner Circle Partner. 

Blue Horseshoe specialises in fulfilment and distribution solutions, with expertise in the food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, and retail distribution industries. Over the past 20 years, the company has improved around 700 supply chains, including those of leading companies such as fashion retailer Lids, cosmetics company Regis Corporation, Pabst Brewing Co., and family-owned bookstore chain Half Price Books. 

“For two decades, we’ve worked with clients to build connectedness, efficiency and automation across their enterprise and supply chain operations,” said Chris Cason, CEO, Blue Horseshoe. “As part of Accenture, we will bring increased scale and combined expertise to help clients put in place next generation supply chain and fulfillment strategies that meet customer expectations and support business growth.”

Accenture's acquisition of Blue Horseshoe is subject to customary closing conditions.

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