Data Analysis and Visualization for Blockchain-based Supply Chain Management
The digital transformation of supply chains creates new challenges for a safe, secure and efficient data exchange among supply chain stakeholders (e.g. suppliers, wholesalers, certification and audit organizations, customers, various service providers). There is a particular lack of consumer-oriented information in food industries about the food products, like technical processes, shelf-life and quality aspects, their origin and sources of certification. Therefore, it is a challenge to establish an end-to-end supply chain visibility which would allow to show transparently the path of product delivery from raw material state until the delivery to the final consumer. Establishing transparent financial, product and value flows is one of the key challenges within digital transformation of supply chains. Tracking and tracing of products in supply networks and appropriate data sharing among the stakeholders can be a challenging task for companies but has the potential to considerably reduce costs and risks. Hence, such transparency and traceability in supply chains offers a competitive advantage through faster information integration, reduced service and product costs, visibility of deliveries using tracking technologies and developing cost-effective solutions for data and value exchange among key stakeholders in the supply chains.
The goal of this dissertation project is to investigate applications of blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) for traceability and transparency of supply chains with the aim to contribute towards understanding and achieving a more traceable, efficient and transparent supply chain network, especially in the food domain.
Blockchain technology can help to resolve challenges of traceability and transparency in supply chains by integrating a decentralized and distributed ledger, which can record transactions using cryptographic methods to protect the entries in the network from tampering, revision or mismanagement. The chronological record of all transactions allows to monitor historical product state change and share such information among the involved stakeholders in the supply chain. Having encrypted independent blocks forming a chain creates a transparent and universal medium for transactions. The interdependency of the parties as well as the decentralized data exchange and data storage network ensures protection from data loss or damage, since each party in such network is an independent data-storage and data verification party. The key benefits of blockchain or DLT integration in the supply chains are the enhanced data protection and security, providing evidence of ownership and product origin, and improving cost effectiveness of transactions within the digital supply chain network.
Since blockchain technology is not well-standardized yet and lacks international protocols, there is still research to be done for it to become widely acceptable and trusted by businesses and industries. Among other challenges of adoption are the implementation of the technology with the Internet of Things (IoT) integration and architecture deployment for automated data exchange, as well as various cost and security challenges. Despite the issues, blockchain has a potential to transform the existing traditional supply and value chain networks and contribute towards an end-to-end connectivity of supply chains.
Methods and expected outcomes
Empirical case study-based investigations of a proposed and developed prototype will be evaluated with one or several case studies. The highlight will be placed on the consumer integration in evaluation of various aspects within the scope of provenance and authenticity verification. For that purpose, various distributed ledger and blockchain technologies will be investigated.
- WU Vienna (Supervisor Univ.-Prof. Dr. Gerald Reiner, Institute for Production Management)