How Citizens Reserve is using blockchain to enable supply chain visibility
24 de enero, 2019
Tiempo estimado de lectura: 5 minutos
Supply chains are complex, making it difficult to trace back the origin of a delivery to suss out issues that arise, minimize losses, or ensure accountability
Companies need digital solutions to transform operations and better manage their unwieldy supply chains to boost visibility, increase efficiency, and ultimately stay relevant. One startup that’s offering a product in this space is Citizens Reserve, which just unveiled its blockchain-based supply chain platform. Business Insider Intelligence spoke with Citizen’s Reserve CEO Eric Piscini about the company’s solution, its approach to the market, and the supply chain space that it’s engaging with.
Companies lack a simple means of creating visibility into the movement of products and materials, from production to the end customer, and accordingly struggle to discern the origin of materials from their records. So when there are problems such as e-coli infected produce, they can’t trace the origin of that batch through their supply chain, and can’t act swiftly to remove contaminated items. Complicating this picture further is that when numerous parties are involved — as is often the case — sharing this sort of data is very difficult. Companies need solutions to manage these chains, whether they’re developed in-house or provided by a partner on a service basis.
Citizens Reserve has partnered with Smartrac to integrate the latter’s RFID products as well as other tracking solutions into its supply-chain-as-a-service platform. The solution employs a pair of blockchains: It uses the Ethereum chain for its public-facing functions, while it employs Quorum, a technology project from JPMorgan Chase, as a permission blockchain which provides it with a level of “scalability, privacy, security, that you cannot guarantee on a public blockchain, and obviously in supply chain, you need privacy, you need confidentiality, and you need very good performance,» Piscini said, explaining why the company opted to rely on two blockchains rather than one.
It uses technology like Smartrac’s RFID tags, which are affixed to shipping containers, boxes, and other packaging or fixed objects within the chain. Each time these tags are scanned at a facility their location and status is written onto the blockchain to create an immutable and shareable record. The startup is focusing on a handful of industries where companies, consumers, and oversight bodies all can improve operations by having better information up and down the supply chain. Piscini emphasized the company’s agriculture solutions, but the company is also targeting electronics and oil and gas customers.
The company’s solution has just gone live with customers, so it doesn’t have customer experience data to report yet. From testing its solution, though, the company expects a 40% increase in supply chain efficiency specific to the variant it’s building now, though Piscini warned that those gains could grow or shrink depending on the particular supply chain that’s being addressed. But an illustrative example Piscini mentioned is that with situations like last year’s e-coli outbreak — prompted by contaminated romaine lettuce and which led all restaurants and grocery stores nationwide to stop selling the green as a precaution — Suku could have helped produce vendors more effectively trace the contaminated batches to their sources. Such steps could have greatly limited the amount of produce that needed to be destroyed — saving millions for suppliers, grocers, restaurants, and insurers — and the number of people affected.
– Our Take:
The supply chain management space is ripe for transformation, and targeted solutions like Citizens Reserve’s Suku could provide answers for certain segments. One hurdle that the company is aware of is the skepticism that can come along with blockchain solutions, which can be seen as overly complex or as trying to take advantage of hype. The startup positions its solutions as supply chain services that use blockchain, tout the technology as the tool best-suited for the task at hand, and claim that its narrower use cases allow it to avoid the electricity and computing power issues plaguing other blockchain projects. But Citizens Reserve isn’t alone in this space; behemoths such as IBM and startups like Volt are also developing blockchain-based supply chain solutions — see Blockchain In The Supply Chain for more about this.
Partnering with a company like Smartrac could help set Citizens Reserve apart, though, by providing it with hardware that will let it offer a complete solution.
Fuente: Business Insider
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