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Supply Chains can be revived using Blockchain networks

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Emmanuel Christi Das

Often coined as the black swan event of the current century, COVID19 is exposing how vulnerable is the supply chain to disruptions globally. The unprecedented time that has descended on people has put them under quarantine, countries in lockdown, and decrease in air transportations have hugely interrupted the business operations worldwide and leaving buyers dazed to keep track of what is going on with their suppliers.

Given the current situation, to make the global supply chains more resilient buyers and sellers have to embark on an approach in anticipation of future events. Though blockchain technology is still in its infancy, it could emerge as a vital solution to ease the crisis hit by the pandemic. Blockchainhas been used as the best technique to make supply chain more efficient and flexible by availing firms to share sensitive information digitally.

Since supply chain can be identified as the sum of various participants in the production process, it is the string of events that contributes in the entire operation to reach a product from the manufacturer to the hands of the end user. However, the larger an organization becomes, then more complex the operations that constitute for the samebecome. As the pandemic has hampered the global supply chain process, a shortage for products that have been considered essential will reflect across countries. The surge in demand for essential products and interruptions in shipments from local suppliers has worsened the situation.

“Blockchain is currently used as an efficient way to help support people and organizations involved in coronavirus relief efforts. There is a need to share large amount of information and maintain transparency in the efforts to combat the pandemic among hospitals, emergency workers, governments and suppliers. A typical database can be used to store the data, but as you know the information on pandemic keeps changing over time. A single administrator run and updating the database would result in causing a lag between updates or human error,” says Jerry Cuomo, Vice President of Blockchain technologies at IBM.

He further explains that blockchain networks could potentially help move goods faster. This can be done by identifying the alternative suppliers and bringing them on-board more quickly than traditional methods. A more resilient way will begin to unfold as buyers get better insight of vendors and product inventory, and thereby allowing buyers to keep a track on where the suppliers are sending products to relocate to new sources.

In the future, proactive supply chains will emerge as a result of utility networks that are designed to address situations like this. Blockchain technology will see new skies after Covid-19 as future events unfurl with much focus laid on moulding a flexible supply system. This could be a result of a combined solution brought through robotics, cloud technology and other innovations which are in development.

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