MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 2 - (Page 123)
Blockchain Technology Provides Better Tracking
BY kATIE kUEHNER-HEBERT
ertified track and trace using
blockchain or other emerging
technologies-is there an actual
case for this in the next three years?
A growing number of experts are
certainly bullish on the prospects, and
there is movement among the manufacturing and retail industries to explore
how to best leverage such technologies
for use within their own supply chains.
"Track and trace is intended to
authenticate products that they are
actually what they are supposed to be,
by determining their origin and their
movement through the supply chain,"
says Rick Fox, chairman of MHI's Order
Fulfillment Solutions Committee. "These
issues are important, for example, in the
food and drug industry supply chains,
where there can be food products that are
poisonous or counterfeit drugs."
Fox, president and chief executive
of MHI member FOX IV Technologies
Inc., is also a member of the barcode
technology group, BCID-TG, for GS1.
Blockchain-the underlying technology under bitcoin-may be the hottest
new technology being explored by other
industries. According to Wikipedia, a
blockchain is a permissionless distributed
database that maintains a continuously
growing list of transactional data records
hardened against tampering and revision,
even by operators of the data store's nodes.
The blockchain is primarily tamper
resistant through time-stamping the
hash of batches of recent valid transactions into "blocks," proving that the
data must have existed at the time. Each
block includes the prior timestamp,
forming a chain of blocks, with each
additional timestamp reinforcing the
ones before it, thus giving the database
type its name. Each blockchain record is
enforced cryptographically and hosted
on machines working as data store
nodes, extending this validation to the
network as a whole.
For the supply chain, the blockchain
algorithm provides a secure spreadsheet
located on the Internet to identify and
track a product's history within the supply
chain anywhere in the world without the
need for a trusted intermediary, Fox says.
"I think the blockchain technology
can be the critical global enabler for
track and trace," he says. "As bitcoin
has demonstrated, it is impossible to
be hacked. Trust between users is not
required, it allows for the disintermediation of third-party providers."
One way this could be accomplished
is for manufacturers to put unique QR
codes on every product such that anyone
with a smart phone could access and
confirm the entire transaction history of
that product, Fox says. Each movement
would be time-stamped, which could
permit the identification of counterfeit
drugs as well as the source of contaminated foods.
John Ashodian, marketing manager,
logistics automation at MHI member
Sick Inc., says that blockchain technology "is an exciting, and potentially game
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 2
Emerging Technologies Produce Business Benefits and Talent Challenges
Developing a Talent Management Strategy
Collaborating with Education
Love your Supply Chain Career?
The Power of Mentoring
Eleven Ways to Diversify the Supply Chain: Insights from the Field
How Do You Build A Successful Career in Supply Chain?
Donated Equipment Gives High School, Community College Students Hands-On Experience
Industry Focus: Retail
2016 MHI Innovation Award to be Presented at MODEX 2016
Economic Market Analysis
The Jobs, Wages, Output and Taxes of the Supply Chain
Solutions Group Update
Scholarship Winners: Where Are They Now?
Index of Advertisers
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 2