Advantages of Oracle’s new blockchain apps explained in exclusive interview

While today’s supply chains are fairly mature and most organizations have implemented visibility, tracking and analytics solutions, their ability is often limited to tracking transactions within their organization boundaries.

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Editor’s Note: Oracle OpenWorld, one the industry’s most important business and technology conference for the past 20 years, hosts tens of thousands of in-person attendees as well as millions online. Dedicated to helping businesses leverage Cloud for their innovation and growth, the conference delivers deep insight into industry trends and breakthroughs driven by technology. With hundreds of demos and hands-on labs, plus exhibitions from more than 250 partners and customers from around the world, Oracle OpenWorld has become a showcase for leading cloud technologies, from Cloud Applications to Cloud Platform and Infrastructure.

In this exclusive interview we discuss the recent release of block chain applications with Rick Jewell, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain & Manufacturing Cloud Applications, Oracle.

Supply Chain Management Review: What types of industry challenges is this announcement addressing?

Rick Jewell: First, there’s Multi-tier visibility. Many manufacturers don’t have visibility in their multi-tier supply chain. While many of them have some data from the immediate suppliers, they don’t have visibility in their suppliers’ suppliers. They also don’t always trust the data provided by all the players in the multi-tier supply chain.

Secondly, there’s Non-disputable root-cause analysis. Customer lack the ability to perform root cause analysis with non-repudiable single source of truth. This reduces costly disputes between trading partners.

SCMR: What about genealogy and chain of custody?

Jewell: Manufacturers don’t have ability to traceback every part and sub-assemblies that went into the production. When some defects are detected, this lack of genealogy information results in very broad product recalls – eroding brand value and stockholder returns.

Furthermore there’s track and trace, compliance: Supply chain professionals lack the ability to track end-to-end progress of the order-management, procurement, inventory, manufacturing, quality, warehousing, logistics process. Their also like ability to improve compliance through automated, consensus-driven transaction records pre-checked with smart-contracts

SCMR: Why is blockchain relevant in Supply Chain Management?

Jewell: Across multiple organizations. While today’s supply chains are fairly mature and most organizations have implemented visibility, tracking and analytics solutions, their ability is often limited to tracking transactions within their organization boundaries. With its distributed ledger technology, blockchain allows them to create and end-to-end view through multiple organizations in modern complex supply chains.

SCMR: And this builds trust?

Jewell: Exactly.  Many supply chain processes are designed around lack of trust between trading partners. Blockchain adds ‘trust in transactions’. Blockchain essentially adds a single source of truth that is shared across multiple organizations, that is non-repudiable, and that is verified through smart contracts and endorsed with consensus. This reduces several manual processes (e.g. manual verifications), paperwork, audits, compliance, and reduction of disputes.

It also addresses counterfeiting and fraud: Supply chain professionals have been struggling with counterfeiting and fraud. Non-repudiable ledger of transactions in the blockchain helps with instantaneous verification of authenticity and genealogy of parts and products.

SCMR: So what are the end-consumer benefits?

Jewell: Today’s consumers like to know more about how their products were produced, where the ingredients were sourced from, and validate that the products were not subjected to harsh environmental conditions during storage or transportation. Blockchain enables a set of usecases that track the end-to-end process of product creation like grape-to-glass (tracking from a vineyard to the wine glass), farm-to-fork (tracking from a farmer’s field to a consumer’s fork), hook-to-plate, etc.

SCMR: Finally, what are the top three aspects of this announcement?

Jewell: These applications significantly reduce the time-to-value to deliver quicker ROI for our customers. Since these are purpose-built SaaS applications – and not just technology components – they reduce the time for deployment, and provide value out of the box.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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