- NETMEDIA International
The blockchain, a security lever for the supply chain
This article was originally published by Mathieu Neu.
Counterfeit products, compliance with regulations, origin and quality of raw materials, etc. Doubts about supply chains are regularly undermining certain industries. With the rise of the blockchain, technological innovation is once again a boon.
China, 2008. One of the biggest health disasters of the early 21st century shakes the Asian giant. The controversy involved batches of locally produced fluid milk and infant milk containing melamine, a toxic substance that makes the product appear to be higher in protein. Sold for many months, the adulterated milk resulted in tens of thousands of patients in the same year.
Quoting this sad example, Yasmine Achab, director of Danone's specialized nutrition programs, began her speech at the Supply Chain Event: "This dramatic episode cast a shadow over the industry and is still in our memories. It raises the question of how to offer a flawless security of packages, solutions to ensure consumers' loyalty".
As opposed to the pharmaceutical industry, some industries such as infant nutrition are not subject to highly focused legislation, although European authorities are currently working on tighter labelling for the future. Tangible proof of traceability, quality, compliance with standards, ingredients must be able to exist at every link in the supply chain. These requirements are increasingly prevalent with the growing importance of CSR issues within organizations. It is in this context that the principles of the block chain and their guarantees find their full meaning.
The stakes of the industry have led Danone to laser marking the inside of each product. By flashing a QR code, the consumer will be able to benefit from additional data and services (expiry date, production date, route taken by the product since its origin...). The goal is to connect with partners and the end customer, providing guarantees of authenticity and showing compliance with a dietary commitment.
A technological joint development
By generating serial numbers for each product and aggregating the associated data, geolocation and information availability become possible and accessible at any time for all stakeholders in the supply chain. These stakeholders are then linked via a dedicated web application. "The aim is to achieve the same information regardless of the monitoring partner involved in the different stages of the value chain. An IT co-construction work is thus necessary with the partners to ensure that all the stakeholders. The support of a service provider is in this case vital to harmonize the necessary technological development", describes Olivier Dauguet director of IT operations at Danone.
Particularly implemented in China, the approach resulted for the group in the setting in connection of 120 warehouses of distributors locally, with the difficulties of heterogeneity of information systems and security systems in place. The use of Tiklal, a supplier of solutions enabling the organization and circulation of information in an environment with multiple stakeholders, provided all the necessary expertise on issues related to tracing.
For Joseph Azar, co-founder and COO of Tiklal, "one of the main challenges is to exploit data that is not on its ERP. This type of tool includes 3 large blocks dedicated to the gathering of information from various sources, central processing allowing analyses, alerts, and information retrieval functionalities accompanied by proof marketing in order to bring all the essential guarantees to professionals for their approval processes".