Visibility has been a significant pain point for a large portion of firms that work along the supply chain. In fact, 65% of procurement executives lack visibility past their direct suppliers, according to Deloitte.
Without the ability to track shipments throughout their journey, it becomes difficult for companies to determine a product’s origin, authenticity, or condition.
However, given the importance of this capability, a number of firms are working on solutions to solve visibility issues. This includes biopharma manufacturer Pfizer and multinational tech firm Intel, which are each leveraging digital technologies to improve end-to-end visibility.
- Pfizer: The pharmaceutical company has an extensive and complex supply chain that it must manage — Pfizer has a product line of over 24,000 SKUs and over 200 contract manufacturers that it counts as partners across 175 countries. Not only is Pfizer tasked with managing its network, but the company is also responsible for ensuring that end users are getting verified, safe products — one in 10 drugs sold in developing countries are counterfeit or substandard, leading to thousands of deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The firm started the End-to-End In-Transit Visibility (E2E ITV) project to support stakeholders by giving them a single source of truth on the status and whereabouts of their global shipments. The project has led to the introduction of a mobile app that enables users to share information and a personalized dashboard where users have access to vital data, such as in-transit updates and supply risks.
- Intel: The tech giant has introduced its Intel Connected Logistics Platform, which is an IoT solution that allows users to not only track their shipments with near real-time visibility, but also monitor the condition of their products. The platform is capable of providing temperature information and even shock measurements. This information would be especially useful for companies moving fragile items or those with climate restrictions. For example, disputes between shippers and carriers regarding the condition of goods being shipped could be reduced as a result of both parties having real-time access to this data.
However, these solutions may just be stopgaps until blockchain technology arrives at scale. Given the digitally shared nature of blockchain technology, it is considered to be a viable option for addressing many pain points felt along the supply chain.
Firms that deploy blockchain-based solutions can achieve a streamlined experience by reducing the need for intermediaries and can implement better planning capabilities as a result of improved visibility.
For example, data from IoT devices that move with shipments can be uploaded to the blockchain in real time, giving all parties secure access to the same information regardless of the systems they are using.
As such, the use of blockchain technology in supply chain management is expected to experience a rapid rise over the next five years — this market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49% from $41 million in 2017 to $667 million in 2024.
Source: Business insider