From farming, to retail, to healthcare, supply chain management is crucial in maintaining an efficient flow of goods and services across the globe. With blockchain technology being implemented in nearly every industry today, it is no surprise that supply chain networks have heavily seen its effects across sectors. It has emerged as a clear solution to maximising factors such as efficiency, customer satisfaction, and reducing costs. Subsequently, we are experiencing a hiring surge across every industry responsible for managing supply chain systems. Now is the time to consider a career switch into blockchain supply chain management.
Within supply chain management, logistics is a crucial component of the process. Logistics management requires studying patterns of traffic and transportation, acquiring necessary resources, and satisfying customer demands from origin to destination. Logistics managers work closely with the warehousing, fleet management, order fulfillment, and inventory control departments.
There's also operations management which focuses more on the internal company business relative to the supply chain management. Operation managers are responsible for making design, production, and planning decisions involving delegating employees and overall workflow. For instance, operations managers do not focus on how the good or service is transported but rather how it is actually developed with the goal of optimizing efficiency and effectiveness for the company.
For every $1 billion invested in the U.S., $122 million was wasted due to a lack of strong project performance, according to research by the Project Management Institute. This research also found that a strong emphasis on project management culture directly correlated with projects meeting their objectives. In relation to supply chain management, is key through proper tools such as blockchain.
Global research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that the movement and tracking of $2 trillion of goods and services will be supported by blockchain technology globally by 2023. Similarly, blockchain usage in supply chain management is predicted to grow 10,000% by 2025 according to a report by Allied Marketing Research. With such promising statistics, the path to entering a career in blockchain is more crucial than ever. Major companies implementing blockchain technology into their supply chains include LG, Target, Pfizer, Walmart, IBM, and UPS.
“The blockchain is all about bringing in transparency and efficiency into the existing systems which are running the upstream and downstream supply chains and making them more proactive and predictive.”
As stated, transparency and efficiency must be prioritized when handling supply chains. Specifically, blockchain enables supply chain managers to provide accurate asset traceability, limit exploitative or untrustworthy behaviors, and ensure a sense of accountability across the entire process from manufacturers to customers. According to a report by PwC, counterfeiting revenues results in more than 2% of global economic output. Considering supply chains handle such a complex network of services, the need for advancements in security and reliability is clear.
Blockchain’s end-to-end tracking of goods and services is one of its most promising features in supply chain management, both on the operations and logistics side of the process. The ability for companies to digitize their physical assets significantly heightens their security within the organization, and thus the level of trust between them and the client drastically increases.
Blockchain serves as the solution to the crucial problem of accountability and visibility of assets for companies who want to emerge as leaders in the industry.
Specifically, blockchain’s use of smart contracts increases transparency, security, speed, and reliability. Smart contacts are instructions of code within the blockchain that create a parameter of rules for both parties of the contract to abide by. When the established conditions are met, the smart contract will automatically go into effect without the need for additional human input. With such a tamper-proof record of data, supply chain managers can prioritize accountability in order to satisfy their consumers, distributors, and stakeholders without the possibility of fraud or interference.
It's not just the supply chain in which smart contracts can be utilised. Blockchain has become a game changer for logistics through its ability to record all data in real time and eliminate extra steps in the process. Smart contracts in logistics management reduce the need for lawyers, brokerages, settlement services, and other third parties members who would normally need to oversee traditional law contracts. This reduces unnecessary paperwork, bureaucracy, and other administrative costs.
Additionally, blockchain’s real-time processing allows en route tracking of all imports and exports of goods. Logistics managers utilize blockchain technology to track transportation and warehousing locations within a matter of seconds rather than days. This constant surveillance on the necessary services and goods also leads to a greater customer satisfaction due to the company’s sense of reliability and accountability.
The real-time processing allows for a greater sense of synchronization across supply chains all around the world. This synchronization refers to the live reaction and response to the global market. Successful supply chain management relies on this awareness of its surroundings and its ability to quickly adapt to them, which can most effectively be completed through blockchain’s real-time technology.
“Supply chain traceability is one of the top use cases for blockchain technology. Replacing the traditional processes with distributed ledger technology could increase trade volume by 15% and U.S. GDP by up to 5%.”
Within supply chain management, product tracing and logistics are the most common implementations of blockchain used by commercial enterprises. According to a study by University College of London, the grocery sector accounted for over half of the projects analyzed ranging from startups, consortia, and governments with blockchain projects.
Most notably, IBM’s Food Trust has become a prominent leader in blockchain implementation in supply chain management. Its members include Dole, Driscoll’s, Nestle, Walmart, and more. While it in 2018, it now has over 300 suppliers and buyers within their network as of June 2020. The Food Trust’s most important benefits include brand trust, food safety and freshness, sustainability, and reduction in food fraud and waste.
The U.S. government is beginning to incorporate the technology into their services as well. On August 5, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a proposal to amend its regulations on organic products to now include supply chain management using blockchain technology. The agency stated that blockchain will play an “essential role” in the transparency and traceability of their organic products.
Considering blockchain’s rise in the supply chain sector, companies are urgently looking for more employees who are interested or have experience in blockchain technology. With a shortage in qualified candidates for these roles, the number of blockchain-related LinkedIn postings have more than tripled. Over the last year, these are the top employers searching to fill blockchain-related roles (with the top 3 accounting for nearly 1,000 openings):
“In the age of data-insecurity, health organizations should look at utilizing blockchain technology. There’s a lot more to it than simply transactional activities’ - blockchain is about securely sharing data previously deemed impossible to extract.”
Blockchain technology has the potential to save the healthcare industry an estimated $100-150 billion per year by 2025. Furthermore, it is reported that 40% of healthcare executives view blockchain technology as one of the top five priorities within the healthcare industry. With such a , the healthcare industry faces challenges of data breach-related costs, operations and logistics costs, and fraud and counterfeit costs. Blockchain serves as a solution to the majority of these problems through its innate ability to promote efficiency and prevent overspending.
Whether you are interested in logistics or operations within supply chain management, there is a blockchain-related position for you as more and more companies begin to incorporate blockchain into their business plans and make it a priority. Typical careers in the supply chain industry could include sourcing, procurement, buying, or planning within manufacturing and operations. Specifically, these titles may range from purchasing agents and customs brokers to contract administrators and production managers. Within logistics, roles may include inventory planners, receiving coordinators, or logistics analysts.
Supply chain managers using blockchain technology could be found in nearly every industry across the globe. Any organization that processes and moves materials relies on supply chains in some capacity. These industries include nonprofits, retail, farming, banking, education, government, airlines, and so much more.
While a strong, technical background in blockchain technology is not required, qualified candidates generally benefit from a basic level of understanding and interest in blockchain. Having a more solid knowledge of the type of management position within supply chain, whether it be logistics or operations, is more significant due to the leadership qualities necessary.
Logistics manager duties tend to work more externally compared to operations managers. Having a solid ability to work with suppliers, manufacturers, and clients globally is extremely important every day.