Why do we need traceability solutions for the supply chain?
Brett Gray: Supply chains changed from a linear model to more like ecosystems. Raw materials and ingredients are traveling from multiple sources multiple times, and you are no longer relying on a single supplier, but, rather, on a large number of suppliers and an entire new network of people, who enable you to accomplish the objectives for your business. These new ecosystems have made things more complex, and forced companies to change their business models, forming multiple relationships, thus storing data in multiple locations. As a result, consumer trust has shifted from known brands to products. With multiple sourcing of raw materials or ingredients by [previously] trusted producers, consumers want to know, how these ingredients were grown, transported and stored. Consumers are looking now at the labels, rather than logos. While consumers are asking for proofs of origin, quality, social responsibility and sustainability, brands are struggling to share about all efforts and investments made into specific products, as well as create engaging for this or that group of consumers touch points.
So, how is this technology – blockchain – appeared to be best suitable to fulfill the current market requirements for the proof of products origins for the end consumer?
Gray: Blockchain is a decentralized (no single ownership), distributed ledger-like digital structure that allows a community to record, share and maintain information. The documents are like IDs we know: A passport or a driving license, except these are for products. These documents are protected by encryption from being modified and irreversibly time stamped. Each document in the blockchain is connected to the previously produced one and the one produced after, so it forms a chain of blocked documents. Blockchain technology acts as a perfect trust generator for different types of businesses. The authenticity of data in it renders trust among stakeholders previously unknown to each other.
DNV GL started developing its My Story blockchain based solution about a decade ago, when this technology was not well known. Now it enables companies to prove that their “marketing buzzwords” are, in fact, true, verified statements. For companies seriously investing in sustainable processes and value chains, it enables sharing about these efforts directly with the end consumer, setting such companies apart from less serious, greenwashing players.
About Brett Gray
As the Digital Transformation Manager, I oversee all digital projects, strategy, and solution for the entire region of North America, with the intention of bringing technology stacks and other emerging technologies like blockchain, AR/VR, artificial intelligence and big data analytics to change the way we interact with and provide services to our customers.