May 17, 2020

Comment: Blockchain – solving supply chain management challenges

Supply Chain
SCM. technology
Vishal Barapatre, Chief Techno...
4 min
Blockchain is helping solve complex supply chain management issues
Supply chain management today is a complex endeavour. Regardless of how many Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, workflow tools, digital shipm...

Supply chain management today is a complex endeavour. Regardless of how many Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, workflow tools, digital shipment tracking devices or other integrated monitoring solutions are deployed, complexities, product losses and inaccurate data management abound.

No longer the responsibility of one or maybe two players, today’s supply chain is riddled with multiple parties, multiple checkpoints and – across them all - a tangled web of processes and systems that need to properly integrate to function cohesively.

The prevalence of inaccuracies, billing disputes, and outright fraud and corruption, means that the whole supply chain needs to be properly audited by impartial third parties, and often. However, imagine if the entire supply chain could be managed electronically from raw material phase right up to customer delivery, with no room for errors, and in such a way that many time-consuming weigh and check points were no longer required? Imagine the speed at which a product could flow from A to B.

Enter the blockchain

Blockchain technology is mostly known in the financial sector; it’s origins fused with those of cryptocurrencies that have relied upon its transparency and unparalleled security to underpin their success. Essentially, a decentralised, distributed digital ledger, the blockchain can be used to record transactions for anything of value across a system of computers in such a way the no record can be altered retroactively without consensus across the entire computer system.

In the financial sector, it is being explored and actively used to conduct financial transactions and even manage contracts. For the supply chain, the benefits supersede merely keeping accurate records: radically reducing the excessive amount of time spent on paperwork and authorisation. Currently, most of the delays on product or materials shipments are due to these two requirements. On the blockchain, only a digital signature is needed, and the accuracy and authenticity of the digital paper trail is such that no time needs be wasted on verifying previous records.


Verify authenticity

Let’s take the diamond trade where, currently, the consumer has to rely on a certificate to validate a stone’s authenticity. A piece of paper can easily be changed, and many a diamond owner has discovered their flawless stone is little more than glass or a far lesser diamond when they take it for valuation, usually with the intention to sell.

Using the blockchain, diamonds can be uniquely barcoded upon exit from the mine in which it was quarried, as a raw stone, and moved across the supply chain while maintaining the integrity of its information, changes made, and details of hands it has crossed. Across the entire supply chain, authenticity is verified and no unauthorised changes are able to be made, so the end purchaser is able to trace the origins of the stone (and, in fact, any other materials used to make the final product) and its entire journey.

Similarly, the origins, service and ownership histories of used vehicles can be traced back on the blockchain, reducing service fraud (such as where odometers are recalibrated) as well as the number of stolen vehicles in circulation and – hopefully – putting an end to these industries entirely.

Transparency and Security

Security and transparency aren’t terms that typically go hand in hand yet, on the blockchain, they do. As mentioned, the security on the blockchain disallows any form of unauthorised change and ensures that authenticity is maintained. By storing “blocks” of information that are identical and require collective approval across its network, the blockchain cannot be controlled by any single entity, nor has it got a single point of failure, making it the most secure platform to date.

Transparency is provided, however, the blockchain is programmed in such a way that only authorised entities may access the information relevant to their particular interest. For example, a purchaser may be able to view transaction history but will be denied access to sensitive or personal information, such as addresses.

From a compliance perspective, this helps ensure that all parties remain compliant with legislations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa, while still being able to share or access the information relevant to their own part of the supply chain.

Blockchain technology has many, many use cases, with the supply chain being one of many. However, with the complexities and number of parties involved in the supply chain, it posits the blockchain as being the perfect solution to solve any number of challenges currently experienced, among them security, delays and authenticity.

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Jul 23, 2021

The Ultimate Procurement & Supply Chain Event

3 min
New sponsor and speakers announced for Procurement & Supply Chain Live, where innovation meets implementation, coming to you live from London

Global eProcurement leader JAGGAER has been announced as the latest sponsor for Procurement & Supply Chain Live. 

Recognised as a Leader by Gartner in both Strategic Sourcing and Procure-To-Pay, JAGGAER’s direct and indirect eProcurement solutions help over 1850 customers, connecting to a network of 4 million+ suppliers in 70 countries.

From September 28th-30th, Procurement & Supply Chain Live gives you the opportunity to network with C-level executives, gain insight from industry pioneers and walk away with actionable insights that accelerate your career. By the end of the week, we promise you’ll have the skills to solve the world’s most pressing supply chain and procurement challenges. 

Whether you attend virtually or in-person, you’ll strategise how to cope with global disruption, learn from industry pioneers - including newly announced speakers Chris Shanahan, VP Global Procurement/CPO at Thermo Fisher Scientific; Jim Townsend, Chief Procurement Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance; and David Cho, CPO at University of Massachusetts - and walk away with tips, tactics, and tangible connections. 

How to Attend


In a COVID-disrupted era, we know that the majority of people would rather avoid travelling for events─why take the risk, right? In response to the continued disruption, BizClik Media Group has decided that Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE will offer the best of both worlds through hybrid accessibility. 

That means you and your peers can attend the event in person or virtually ─ with no disadvantages for people who choose not to make the trip to the Tobacco Dock venue. 



Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE will be held at the Tobacco Dock in London, an industry-leading venue that is renowned for delivering world-class events. For attendees’ peace of mind, the venue is working to the government-endorsed AEV All Secure Framework, alongside mia’s AIM Secure and ‘Good to Go’ accreditation, they will ensure that we achieve a COVID-secure environment to facilitate all of your networking needs. 


Our physical venue is both historic and stunning, but it has no bearing on the information that you and your peers can gain from the event. You can still absorb it all, interact with other attendees, and enjoy the conference experience on your alternative, virtual platform. 

The platform will feature live feeds from all of the stages, as well as virtual networking areas. So, if you want to avoid travel, it’s not a problem! You can still get involved and enjoy the entire experience from the comfort of your own home. 

New Speakers for Procurement & Supply Chain Live

Chris Shanahan
VP Global Procurement/CPO at Thermo Fisher Scientific


Shanahan is Vice President, Global Procurement/CPO for Thermo Fisher Scientific in Waltham, MA. He joined the company to lead efforts in leveraging scale in the marketplace, develop capability and processes across the company, while transforming the supply base. He co-authored the Procurement Leaders Handbook, and holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Open University in the United Kingdom.

Jim Townsend
Chief Procurement Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance


Townsend leads Walgreens procurement (Goods and Services Not For Resale). Prior to joining Walgreens Boots Alliance, he worked for Anglo American and General Electric also within commercial procurement. He has worked overseas extensively, in both manufacturing and retail environments. He holds an MBA in Strategic Procurement from the University of Birmingham, UK and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. 


David Cho
CPO at University of Massachusetts

Cho is Chief Procurement Officer for the University of Massachusetts, Unified Procurement Services Team (UPST), comprising strategic sourcing, contracts, supplier management, procurement operations, accounts payable, travel services, and customer service that provide quality service to the UMass system. Cho has 25-plus years of strategy and operations management consulting and industry experience. He was formerly Global Head of Sourcing and Vendor Management at BlackRock.


CLICK HERE to order now and make the most of our early-bird offer. Ticket prices increase over 50% soon!

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