Known as the technology behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, blockchain is a distributed digital ledger that contains data or events, and holds them in a manner that makes them tamper resistant.
While multiple users can open, look at or supplement blockchain data, they can’t modify or delete it. Therefore, any data put into blockchain stays there, resulting in a permanent, secure and public list of transactions.
Although it was first designed for financial transactions, businesses of all sorts are getting innovative with blockchain, using it to document, track and confirm trades of any product or asset. From ride-sharing to cloud storage to voting, all kinds of industries have started to see the value of blockchain.
Blockchain meets supply chain
Blockchain offers significant value to the supply chain industry, particularly with respect to transparency and security.
With this technology, any transaction of a product could be recorded, resulting in a permanent record spanning raw material sourcing to sale of a finished product. The technology could significantly decrease delays, costs and human errors that often cause supply chain problems.
Some supply chains are already utilizing blockchain, and experts have said the technology could become a common operating system for the industry in the coming years.
One of the specific benefits already being realized through blockchain is the efficient documenting of assets – like pallets and containers – as they go between logistics points. Blockchain also allows for the tracking of purchase orders, receipts, shipment notifications and other supply chain documents. Blockchain can also be used to create designation for products, like marking a product as organic or fair trade.
Finally, blockchain can be used to share data on manufacturing methods, set up, delivery and maintenance of goods.
Regardless of how it is specifically utilized, blockchain can provide numerous wide-ranging and expansive benefits.
A major benefit is the increased transparency available to all parties along a supply chain. When a product’s voyage across the supply chain is known, it boosts trust and reduces bias. Using blockchain also adds a layer of security. By increasing transparency and accountability, it makes theft and fraud even more difficult.
Finally, blockchain is a new platform ripe for innovation. If blockchain is widely adopted, as many expect it will be, there will be countless opportunities to develop new, specialized uses for the technology and decentralized structures in general.
Crucial blockchain skills
Conventional programming skills and basic development skills will be critical to the growth of blockchain in the supply chain. Aside from technical skill, an eagerness to learn about current blockchain platforms like Ethereum and Hyperledger will be invaluable.
Those looking to work with blockchain should also have a firm grasp of Bitcoin or other crypto-currencies. Furthermore, individuals with robust understanding of cryptography will also find themselves sought after by hiring managers in the supply chain.
The coding skills that seem to be most sought after in blockchain at the moment include Java, Golang, Haskell, Erlang, Rust and Python. There is also expected to be a need for those with hands-on experience with Open Source frameworks like Solidity.
Work With a Leading Supply Chain Recruiter
At ZDA, we help managers embrace the technology of tomorrow by supporting them with custom recruiting solutions. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your company, please contact us today to work with a leading supply chain recruiter.