During the COVID-19 pandemic, the necessity to boost supply chain becomes critical, as shipment delays, especially if it concerns medical equipment, might cost someone’s life. Probably that is the reason for some organizations thinking blockchain technology could be the saviour of the ageing global supply chain infrastructure.
On April 28, World Economic Forum (WEF) published a 244-page report titled “Redesigning Trust: Blockchain Deployment Toolkit” to guide governments and other organizations throughout the lifecycle of their blockchain projects after series of engagements with a range of companies and organizations in the oil, food, security, among other sectors. The toolkit acts as a guide for the application of blockchain technology but also outlines how to make the most of the innovation.
The news especially marks a big win for the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry as it comes from a highly recognized global organization with the goal of improving the state of the world and that regularly engages business, political, academic, and other leaders of society in discussions that could improve the state of affairs of the world.
Important to note is that the WEF had previously been a bit ‘uneasy’ about blockchain technology development, with most of its advice to governments, organizations and businesses pointing to stricter regulations. It seems they also realize the need to adjust themselves as the world is changing rapidly due to coronavirus.
The idea of applying blockchain to improve the supply chain is actually far from being new. It’s just that now it has become especially relevant. Many companies and industries have been exploring and experimenting with it to see its actual benefits.
At the beginning of April, coinidol.com, a world blockchain news outlet, reported that BMW launched a pilot project involving blockchain. The initiative is called PartChain and aimed at enhancing the supply chain of raw materials. Thus, the client would be able to track every detail from the choice of raw materials to its destination within a vehicle.
Healthcare is also exploring the technology’s potential as their need to improve the supply chain is especially urgent due to an increase in counterfeit medical equipment caused by the pandemic. For that reason, a US giant company Northwell Health Group joined IBM’s blockchain platform to secure the goods they use.
Generally, many industries are trying to apply blockchain to boost traceability of supply chains. For instance, Italy started experimenting with the technology a couple of years ago. It is especially popular within the country’s agrifood sector as food plays a critical role in human life, so it is vital to ensure its proper quality. As of now, blockchain has been applied to track carrots, baby nutrition, and even wine to avoid low-quality counterfeits.
Generally, the COVID-19 had just boosted the interest in blockchain technology from those who previously ignored it. However, the need to apply digital technologies along with the example of its successful implementation might boost further research and wide adoption of the technology within various use cases.