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How is the Supply Chain Influenced by Data and Blockchain?
Customers are now able to track orders at nearly every stage of the process. Warehouses are becoming smarter, implementing the Internet of Things, and using connected devices to make processes more efficient. With these advancements and more, the supply chain looks very different now than it did just a year or two ago.
Our Associate Director, Nicole Harris, explains, “Since I’ve been recruiting this space, the hiring requirements have changed significantly. It used to be, ‘just make sure that the product gets there on time and in one piece.’ Now, Supply Chain has become a more technical and intricate business function; it’s no longer an overlooked vertical, but a strategic piece of every business.”
So, when addressing what’s next for the industry, two huge topics come to mind: data and blockchain. What do these two pieces of technology mean for the supply chain, and how can professionals adopt them effectively?
Data Collection and Implementation
On its surface, the use for data is quite simple: the more you know about your business and operations, the better you can manage it. However, data collection is so much more than that.
It is not enough to simply accumulate information. Information without action is pointless. After collection, you need to analyze the data and draw conclusions about its meaning.
For example, knowing how many units of an item you have to ship is essential, but it means so much more when compared to how many you shipped last month. How did that shipment go? Was it on time? Was it correct? Could you have done it more efficiently? These pieces of information, in context, will help you to adjust this upcoming shipment and perhaps even increase your profit margin this time around.
One very popular way to present and analyze this information is data visualization. This particular presentation can help executives make better-informed, quicker decisions. It can help to perfect deliveries, find more efficient routes, save fuel, and more. With this information at your fingertips, the supply chain can be more efficient (and lucrative) than ever before.
What Is Blockchain?
In the simplest terms, blockchain is a vehicle for a secure exchange of information over the internet. Most often, it is used for bitcoin – an internet-based currency. The method can also be used to share valuable, encrypted information among several parties.
The information can be shared in two ways – one more easily accessed by the public than the other. This more public version does not require permission for someone to access it, while the other is more private and does require such permissions.
How Does Blockchain Relate to the Supply Chain?
Blockchain may be used to keep track of transactions and monitor the process in a secure, private fashion. This can improve the quality of record keeping and even speed up transaction in some cases. Housing this information via blockchain can potentially streamline processes, improve tracking and recordkeeping, and even reduce transaction costs.
However, this implementation is still in its early days. Professionals are not yet sure if blockchain is the best solution to these problems. There may be alternatives that better suit some businesses, as the permissions element to this process may prove confusing and even unnecessary for them.
Even if it is not a perfect solution for your business, it is certainly a hot topic in the industry and certainly worth exploring.
If you would like more information about trends in the industry, or if you’d like help finding the right talent for your business, please reach out to our expert recruitment consultants today. You can also submit a job description here.