Chain Business Insights, LLC, which provides research, analysis and business intelligence on blockchain technology specifically geared toward supply chain management and trade finance professionals, has released its first benchmark survey - ‘Blockchain In Supply Chain: Edging Toward Higher Visibility’ - on the use of blockchain in supply chains.

Sherree DeCovny, co-founder and research principal at Chain Business Insights, stated: “Blockchain in supply chain and trade finance is definitely in a nascent stage. ‘Blockchain In Supply Chain: Edging Toward Higher Visibility’ provides a benchmark on the current state of play, and allows us to effectively monitor change going forward.”

One-third of respondents in the sample reported as already implementing blockchain. Approximately one-quarter of respondents indicated they are knowledgeable about the technology, and the remainder are at the beginning of the learning curve. In Chain Business Insights’ opinion, the latter group are more representative of the industry as a whole.

Survey respondents indicated that the primary use case for blockchain was for improving supply chain transparency and traceability. When asked about the most important advantages, they cited improving supply chain visibility/transparency, reducing transaction costs and enhancing trust between supply chain partners.

Ken Cottrill, co-founder and research principal at Chain Business Insights, commented: “Blockchain’s ability to maintain a tamper-proof, timely record of product movements and related transactions is of huge interest to supply chain practitioners. It comes at a time when the industry is under intense pressure to deliver improvements in these areas.”

Just over 40% of respondents reported that they plan to implement blockchain within the next year, and one-fifth intend to implement the technology within two years. This result is congruent with the relative high awareness of the survey sample. However, 30% of respondents said that they have no idea when blockchain might be implemented, reflecting the uncertainty that still surrounds the technology. Lack of understanding/awareness and lack of standards and interoperability were noted as the top obstacles to adopting blockchain.

Chain Business Insights also asked survey participants which other technologies will likely have an impact on supply chain management, with big data/analytics, IoT, cloud computing, and RFID coming out on top.

Peter Harris, co-founder and research principal and Chain Business Insights, concluded: “The first development projects in the supply chain domain are emerging - but as our survey underlines, there is still a long way to go before the technology gains widespread acceptance. In our view, capabilities such as product tracking and tracing and verifying product chain of custody will likely drive higher levels of awareness in the near to medium term.”



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