Industry 4.0 Round-Up: When Blockchain Meets Supply Chain

Every day, solution providers continue to research, develop, and integrate “Industry 4.0” applications within sourcing, procurement, and payables / accounts payables business tools, giving rise to a new generation of supply management tools, dubbed “Procurement 4.0.” The market is fertile ground for big tech companies and enterprising start-ups, alike. With so much Procurement 4.0 news eminating every week, the CPO Rising editorial team thought that it’d be fun and worthwhile to cover these developments in a separate and semi-regular technology round-up. Today’s focus — when Blockchain meets supply chain. Enjoy!

aXpire Aspires to Bring Blockchain to Spend Management

Ardent Partners recently learned that aXpire, a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) and spend management solution provider based in New York City, has embarked on a mission to bring Blockchain distributed digital ledgers to its spend management solutions. It has integrated Blockchain onto Resolvr, its spend management solution, and MatchBx, its freelancer management solution, which will allow enterprises to automatically and permanently record transactions, track them more easily, and automatically process invoice and payment information. aXpire will offer a Blockchain-enabled version of MatchX to its user base ideally within the second quarter of 2018, while it will offer a Blockchain-enabled version of Resolvr within the next 12-to-24 months.

Cobalt Blockchain, DLT Labs Collaborate on Blockchain-based Mineral Supply Chain

Early last week, Ardent Partners also learned of a joint effort by two Toronto-based Blockchain development firms, Cobalt Blockchain Inc. and DLT Labs, to digitize the global metals and minerals trade. The two companies signed a Letter of Intent to establish a joint venture that will develop a Blockchain-based digital track-and-trace tool to help supply chain, sourcing, and procurement teams certify the provenance (point of origin) of metals and minerals as they make their way from mines to customers. As envisioned, the platform will incorporate DLT’s DL Asset Track system and Cobalt’s expertise in the cobalt mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to produce a Blockchain-based digital track-and-trace tool that will allow enterprise users to track and trace precious metals, minerals, and even diamonds across supply chains and prove the commodity’s provenance. The two companies plan to offer a trial version of the platform to select users before offering wide-scale availability.

Vanig Announces Blockchain-based, eCommerce and Supply Chain Integrated Platform

Vanig International, a Chicago-based provider of Blockchain-based eCommerce platforms, has announced the launch of its integrated eCommerce and supply chain management platform built on its signature Blockchain distributed digital ledger. This offering is based on Hyperledger’s latest Sawtooth technology. Like most other Blockchain ledgers, Vanig’s will automatically record transactions in a permanent, secure, and unalterable way. It will allow users to track and trace transactions in real time between trading partners. It will also allow retailers and manufacturers to conduct product recalls faster and provide visibility down to consumers. And it will facilitate payment through various crypto-currencies, a solid since Blockchain was initially established to serve as the infrastructure behind crypto-currencies, like Bitcoin.

Arrieta, GSA Lead the Way on U.S. Government Blockchain Deployment

And we’d like to close out today’s Blockchain round-up with a success story and encouraging use case. Ardent Partners has learned that the U.S. Government’s General Services Administration (GSA) deployed a Blockchain distributed ledger system, the first of its kind in the U.S. Government, to automate government contract award approvals and modifications. The GSA is the agency responsible for procuring much of the indirect goods and services used by federal, state, and local government agencies. We also learned that Jose Arrieta, the then Director of Schedule 70 Operations and a longtime “friend of the site,” led the development and launch of the solution in just eight weeks. He and his team, which oversaw an average of $15 billion in annual spend on IT and services, then used the Blockchain solution to reduce contract award times from an average of 110 days to just nine, and to reduce contract modifications from 40 days to just three.

We hear a lot about solution providers and start ups developing Blockchain ledgers and partnering to apply them to supply management; but we hardly hear anything on what real-world users have been able to achieve with Blockchain. So it is refreshing, and exciting, to hear industry leaders applying this technology and using it to drive enterprise-wide success. Kudos to GSA, and bravo to Jose!

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