Is There Any Value In Blockchain-based Supply Chain Transparency?

Depending on who you pose the question to, blockchain technology will either change our daily lives or have no impact at all. Walmart is in the believers camp, as they are eyeing the technology for the tracking of products sold in their stores. Providing additional information related to products that customers buy, holds merit, although it remains to be seen if this is something consumers are waiting for.

Walmart Wants To Take Blockchain Beyond Chinese Pork

A few weeks ago, Walmart shocked most of the Western world by announcing their proof of concept related to blockchain technology. The company is tracking the origin of their Chinese pork supply over the blockchain, as they want to ensure that all of their products are safe and will do no harm to consumers.

But rumors are circulating that the company is looking beyond just the Chinese pork supply for this project. It is anybody’s guess as to what they may want to track specifically, considering how their selection of products is rather extensive. Mainly food and drink seem appropriate categories for the use of blockchain-based information, though.

The bigger question is whether or not consumers are even remotely interested in this concept. It is doubtful whether the blockchain project will inflate Walmart prices, even though it gives the company additional insights into which products their consumers like best. People who tend to buy South American coffee beans may also be interested in spinach grown in that region, for example.

A significant problem is highlighted when following this train of thought. While Walmart can easily use the blockchain-based project as a marketing tool for promotional efforts, the consumer may not get anything of value out of it. There are a lot of questions regarding this concept, and very few satisfying answers for the time being.

Tracking the origins and whereabouts of products before they are sold to consumers holds a lot of value, though. Right now, the entire supply chain process is mostly based on blind trust, even though many things could go wrong along the way. Are those organically grown carrots truly organic, or have they been intentionally mislabeled in order to inflate prices? Those types of issues can be addressed with Walmart’s blockchain project.

Unfortunately, it seems Walmart sees this proof of concept as a problem solver after the fact. Granted, if customers get sick, it is vital to track down where the issue occurred, and how it can be avoided in the future. At that time the damage has already been done, even though information should be updated in real-time. Developing the technology is only part of the journey, as it all comes down to how it is deployed and used in a real life environment.

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