The disruption of the past two years has brought supply chain transparency into sharp focus. At the micro level, it has meant customers waiting weeks or months for goods to arrive. Add to this the war in Ukraine, and various industry strikes in a number of European countries, and you’ll see how things aren’t going to get any easier in the short term.
At a macro level, it has resulted in a scarcity of materials, problems in trend and financial forecasting, increasing freight prices and port congestion, and a changing of customer attitudes as they seek out other companies or routes to fulfil their requirements.
Even before the pandemic wreaked havoc, supply chains in every business sector were already hellishly complex – winding through different legal jurisdictions, technical systems, time zones and transport methods.
Providing the answers
That complexity makes it difficult to analyse and optimise internal processes, but can also create problems with customer relationships. How can you make confident claims about your ethical and environmental standards if you can’t see the whole supply chain in granular detail?
The solutions may lie in a combination of open-source frameworks, machine learning and the blockchain. Datanomix is a tech company that applies predictive machine learning to manufacturing – providing real-time analytics data on physical processes, and allowing for continuous improvement from first component to finished product.
“Provenance is a social enterprise that uses block to help businesses prove to its customers exactly where their products have come from”
The Open Apparel Registry is an open-source map and database of global fashion manufacturing facilities – allowing major brands to understand exactly who they are partnering with. This enables them to assess risks with everything from sustainability to workers’ rights.
And Provenance is a social enterprise that uses the blockchain to help businesses prove to its customers exactly where their products have come from. This verified evidence can be pushed straight into marketing communications to bolster a brand’s reputation for sustainability.
Global supply chains will remain essential and fragile – new tech solutions can help make them a little more resilient and transparent.