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Blockchain holds great promise for the supply chain industry. The distributed ledger of blockchain could greatly enhance collaboration among shippers, carriers and forwarders as well as producers and manufacturers. With blockchain transactions could be verified, recorded and coordinated autonomously without third parties. This holds the promise of eliminating a layer of complexity and introducing opportunities for reliable provenance tracking in the supply chain Blockchain also holds the promise of cutting through the delays caused by “paper-based” documents being sent back and forth by post, email and fax.
However, since blockchain technology is still not widely adopted, there are many challenges to overcome before it can be successfully deployed at scale in the logistics industry. According to DHL’s research, “Likely the biggest challenge will be achieving successful industry adoption through collaboration and even co-opetition between diverse supply chain stakeholders that have legacy processes and varying interests.”
A Hyperledger Supply Chain SIG could help overcome these challenges and propose a way forward that is neutrally based, using the Hyperledger open-source blockchain framework. With blockchain, there is an opportunity to create a level of trust that enables multiple trading partners to collaborate more easily.
Since 2017 we have seen a number of interesting proofs of concept (POCs) and pilots deployed in this sector that are based on Hyperledger frameworks.
Blockchain can be used for asset management, to improve transparency and traceability, and to automate commercial processes with “smart contracts,” which facilitate and verify the performance of contracts without third parties. The potential for blockchain in supply chain is significant. However, moving from concepts and pilot applications to actually deploying viable solutions will require the technology to be further developed, organizational transformation and a willingness to collaborate between all stakeholders. Success depends on all parties working together to transform legacy processes and to jointly adopt new ways of creating value for this space.
It is time to create a platform for our community to share knowledge and build collaborative efforts, learning from each other’s experiences, successes and challenges.
The Supply Chain Special Interest Group (SC-SIG) will be focused on applying distributed ledger technology in general, and Hyperledger technologies in particular, to supply chain track & trace, import/export, prevention of fake goods, customs, duties & tariffs.
The activities of the SC-SIG will include:
Identifying related reference architectures (for example business and integration architecture, technical and infrastructure architecture), frameworks and models (OSI) , use cases, current pilots and proofs of concept, and production case studies;
Sharing stories of successes, failures, opportunities and challenges;
Exploring and addressing cross-cutting architectural principles, options and decisions like performance and scalability, security, identity management and privacy, and identity in logistic contexts;
Identifying existing or needed common critical software, middleware, and hardware components that would serve the particular needs of supply chain.
Working towards proposing solutions to the problems identified;
Identifying conferences or other opportunities to connect face to face, as well as submit talks or present as a group at an event.
Identifying the business community and building an inclusive platform for early adopters to contribute with their experiences.
Identifying all different protocols across supply chain to build a standardization across the different parties and efforts.
Supply Chain best practices, awareness of and working in accordance with such rules as customs & import export regulations.
The SC-SIG is prohibited from performing or engaging in any form of lobbying or attempts to influence government policy making or regulatory processes. It is also not intended as a platform for procurement of services.
Sample suitable applications for blockchain technology in Supply Chain Management
- CargoSmart has launched a global shipping network/consortium to track goods across the supply chain using Oracle Blockchain Built on Hyperledger Fabric.
- DHL has created a blockchain-based serialization prototype with nodes in six geographies to track pharmaceuticals across the supply chain. The ledger tracking these medicines may be shared with stakeholders, including manufacturers, warehouses, distributors, pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors. Lab-simulations show how blockchain could handle more than seven billion unique serial numbers and 1,500 transactions per second.
- Niti Aayog is working with Apollo Hospitals and Oracle on applying blockchain (decentralized) technology in pharmaceutical supply chain management to detect counterfeit drugs.
- In the food supply chain, food borne outbreaks are a challenge for retailers and grocery stores. They have to get a quick overview of where the food came from and which other products are also affected and have to be removed from the stores. Companies like Walmart and Certified Origins are working to ensure the authenticity and freshness of food ingredients using blockchain technology.
As with all Hyperledger Working and Special Interest Groups, the Supply Chain SIG will be open to everyone and an inclusive environment for both technical and non-technical entities.
We are open to what the “work products” of the group will be: documents, new project proposals, reports, demos. The aim is to bring the industry together and enable collaboration.
The anticipated initial work products will include (but are not limited to) a set of documents describing Supply Chain use cases for blockchain technology. This will be an inventory of example use cases which captures common processes, which may suggest applications that are built or could be built using software being developed at Hyperledger. If existing inventories of such use cases exist, those should be identified and reviewed as well. The group should aim to identify common ground for collaboration between members, tackling the biggest challenges of the space. The SC-SIG may also host in-person meetings intended to accelerate the working group's mission.
Another suggested work product would be to produce a neutral supply chain report/white paper, based on the use cases, that demonstrates how supply chain tracking, shipping, delivery and authenticity can be improved using blockchain technology based on Hyperledger.
Another suggested project would be to work together on a supply chain demo to be shown at the Consensus event in April, 2019.
This SIG will report its progress to the TSC, and collaborate with other Hyperledger working groups, Linux Foundation staff, and the project maintainers.
This SIG will also work with the Hyperledger Brand and Marketing teams to ensure that the materials developed meet the brand and trademark guidelines.
This SIG will align and collaborate with other core Hyperledger working groups and projects especially in the areas of Architecture, Performance and Scalability, Identity and Smart Contracts and Integration.
The following individuals have already expressed an interest in joining this SIG, and we hope they will become contributors over the first year:
List of interested parties listed with their consent, including name, association,
Ricardo Garcia, ScanTrust SA,
Sebastien HENOT, Business Innovation Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, MOBI (Vehicle Identity workgroup)
Allan Gulley, Senior Manager - Blockchain Strategy at Auburn University RFID Lab
Joshua Satten, Wipro Limited, Blockchain Partner - NA,
Hitarshi Meenketu Buch, Wipro Limited, Blockchain Lead Technical Architect,
Gilles Gravier, Wipro Limited, Senior Manager - Open Source,
Ralph Verhlest, VISMA EBPI, Technical Strategy Manager, Business Development Lead Blockchain,
Stephen J Rogers - VP of Blockchain Initiatives for Supply Chain - IBM Industry Platforms,
Bobbi Muscara / Ledger Academy (Learning Materials Working Group)
Lucy Hakobyan, MOBI.dlt
Edmund To, Software Engineer, Industrie&Co
The following individual(s) have volunteered to serve as the initial Chair/Co-Chair’s of the SIG:
NOTE: As part of this proposal, the Hyperledger SIG working processes as described here will be followed: https://wiki.hyperledger.org/groups/sig-application