Walmart Puts Food Suppliers on Notice: Blockchain or Bust
Continuing its work with IBM on their proprietary Food Trust solution, Walmart has taken the next step in digitizing the food supply chain process by mandating that all its suppliers of leafy green vegetables upload their data through their own blockchain application by Fall 2019.
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While many in the retail community continue to speculate on the potential of global currencies such as bitcoin, enterprises are diligently using the same technologies to bring efficiencies at scale in areas that provide value to the end consumer each day.
A fantastic example of a company which has grossed billions by beating competitors’ inefficiencies as it relates to supply chain and logistics is the global powerhouse Walmart. In the latest example of their quest to become a technology company, they have now mandated that suppliers who want to conduct business with them must upload their data to its IBM powered blockchain by Q3 of 2019.
Although the specifics of how procurement partners of Walmart will comply with this request remain unknown, it has been well documented for some time that Walmart was working with IBM and its Food Trust solution in order to identify issues involving food recalls, such as tracing outbreaks more quickly in an effort to reduce risks to customers.
Specifically, this means being able to reduce the time needed to trace a source of food from seven days to 2.2 seconds.
No Blockchain Experience Required
As more companies begin to recognize the power of utilizing a blockchain-based ledger for supply chain and logistic solutions, customers of large corporations will have to change the way they interact with global procurers such as Walmart.
For example, legacy ways of exchanging information from paper to excel spreadsheets to older ERP systems may be replaced entirely by blockchain applications that are as simple as setting up your new computer. Creating a user interface that is simple and easy to use for third parties is crucial.
Walmart spokesperson Molly Blaman is confident that Walmart will have it right by the time vendors are required to be blockchain compliant:
“IBM will offer an onboarding system that orients users with the service easily. Essentially, suppliers will need a smart device and internet to participate.”
Walmart Brings Blockchain Mainstream
Blockchain networks such as the one Walmart has developed with IBM will continue to gain momentum in the upcoming months as companies seek efficiencies and customers’ expectations for service continue to grow.
The real question is, can these solutions live up to the hype and deliver on the lofty goals that consumers in the digital economy have with the explosion of interest in blockchain-based solutions.
Have your say. Do you believe that all Walmart suppliers will be able to upload their perishable food information to the blockchain without understanding how their data is being used? Do you believe that some suppliers may protest against this, as the technology is on the cutting edge?
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