May 17, 2020

SAP to introduce blockchain to supply chain platform

Torsten Zube
James Henderson
2 min
A new blockchain technology could change the face of the logistics industry
SAP is to add its blockchain technology to its supply chain traceability platform to aid its stakeholders in the agricultural industry greater visibilit...

SAP is to add its blockchain technology to its supply chain traceability platform to aid its stakeholders in the agricultural industry greater visibility of their products and confidence in food safety.

The develop has been revealed by the company’s blockchain lead, Torsten Zube, on a LinkedIn blogpost titled: “Why the real potential of blockchain lies in boundless enterprise collaboration”

“The blockchain will act as an additional layer complementary to the core processes that creates one shared view on the data from all involved stakeholders contributing to the supply chain (technology),” he said.

“It will allow them to trace ingredients and products, enter requests and offerings, and verify and execute transactions – everything in the most convenient and trusted way. This makes it possible to optimise the entire supply chain by enabling transparency over actual needs, just-in-time deliveries, and maximal food quality (new business models).”


Zube said that the ‘Farm to Consumer’ project perfectly showcases a common pattern that SAP sees in blockchain projects, namely cross-company collaboration along complex value chains, in which technology can remove a number of steps and establish ‘automated trust’

He went on to reveal that SAP is also collaborating with Swiss blockchain start-up to develop systems to improve supply chain processes by combining blockchain technology and IoT.

“Together with their ambitious team of experts, we are currently working on specific pilot projects and will reveal how blockchain creates value for our first joint customer at the upcoming SAPPHIRE NOW conference between June 4-7 in Orlando,” he revealed.

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Jun 23, 2021

Japan Seeks to Revive Stalled Semiconductor Industry

Elise Leise
3 min
As international supply chains falter, the Japanese government intends to incentivise foreign chipmakers to build localised foundries

Post-pandemic, Japan has seen the consequences of relying solely on foreign imports for its semiconductors. Over 64.2% of its chips are usually imported from South Korea and Taiwan, leaving the country dependent on its neighbours. Industries from auto manufacturers to consumer electronics firms wait for chips, to no avail. But now, the Japanese government looks likely to put real funding behind its semiconductor industry, with top officials emphasising their support.


Domestic supply chains have never been more important. Rather than remain tied to international shipping routes during shortages and delays, governments are doing everything in their power to develop local lines of supply. But the question remains: can Japan pull it off? 


How Will Japan Pay For It? 

Herein lies our first issue. Japan’s debt has rapidly increased over the past few years, and the semiconductor industry will need roughly a trillion yen—US$9bn—in this fiscal year alone. This cost, however, pales in comparison to what Japan could lose if it fails to keep up with Europe and the US. Both nations have launched aggressive funding measures to revive their local semiconductor industries. And if Japan refuses to invest due to its debt, it could slow down progress in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to autonomous driving. 


According to Tetsuro Higashi, the former president of Tokyo Electron and Japan’s top government advisor in semiconductor strategy, ‘If we miss this opportunity now, there may not be another one’. Yet one advanced wafer fabrication factory can cost more than US$10bn, and any money poured into the industry will go fast. That’s why Japan, rather than invest trillions and trillions in failing domestic firms, is considering a second option. 


What Do They Plan To Do? 

Japan now intends to look abroad and convince overseas chip foundries to come to its shores. Its past failures mostly centred on trying to merge domestic firms that were already going through tough times. ‘This sort of made-in-Japan self-reliance approach hasn’t worked out well’, said Kazumi Nishikawa, a director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s IT division. ‘This time the goal is to offer a strong incentive for an overseas logic foundry to come to Japan’. 


As follows, Japan will now reach out to industry partners and leaders in other countries, including the industry heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), to build Japanese bases. According to the South China Morning Post, the heart of Japan’s mission is a US$337.2mn research and development project in Tsukuba that will involve TSMC and more than 20 Japanese firms. ‘I think we need to cooperate with our overseas counterparts’, said Akira Amari, a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. ‘[And] TSMC is the world’s top logic chipmaker’. 

Indeed, if that’s Japan’s strategy, the future looks bright. TSMC recently set up a venture near Tokyo to research energy-efficient 3D chips with several Japanese partners. And in the future, the multinational chipmaker may consider expanding its Japanese operations—that is, if government incentives pave the path forward.

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