2 big names, 1 big idea
On Tuesday, IBM and Maersk announced they are currently working together to develop and introduce blockchain technology throughout the shipping industry. The two companies have described it as a ‘transformational’ service. The technology will allow data sharing across a network of computers. They will work together with ports and customs authorities, freight forwarders and shippers to efficiently advance the technology. Through working with the big players in the industry, it will increase opportunities for those in emerging and developing countries.
By digitalizing the work in the shipping industry, paper trails will be eliminated, which will make the sharing of information more secure. It will also enhance transparency, as the supply chain will be optimized from end-to-end. The risk of fraud and error will be reduced; blockchain technology allows for real time exchange of transactions and documents, helping to avoid tampering of information along the way. If the technology is used widely within the industry, it could lead to the saving of billions of dollars.
Read more on the company’s technology development here.
DIY made virtual
After extensive research, Lowe’s, the home improvement store, found that some customers still lack the confidence and skills to embark on their own DIY projects. As a result, the company decided to integrate virtual reality into its in-store service in Framingham, Massachusetts. The virtual reality skills clinic, Holoroom How To, immerses customers into a specific project using step-by-step instructions. With a headset and controller in each hand, a customer can perform tasks with haptic feedback, allowing them to feel the vibration of a drill and other such things. It is an effective training tool that helps encourage learning and reinforces confidence in customers to buy products and execute a job for themselves. Furthermore, it could improve employee knowledge.
The company is focused on using emerging technologies as a way to engage customers. It is, in fact, the first retailer to introduce augmented and virtual reality technology into its operations beyond design assistance. For the moment, Lowe’s is taking a step-wise approach, carefully assessing customer’s reactions. Therefore, the experience will be introduced into only two of Lowe’s stores in the coming weeks.
To find out more information and watch an explanative video click here.
On Wednesday, H&M became the first major fashion retailer to join the ‘Better Than Cash Alliance’. The organization already has 50 members, including MasterCard and Coca-Cola. Its goal is to eliminate cash payments throughout supply chains because it lacks efficiency and transparency. Through the digitalization, it will help suppliers to more accurately record payments and reduce spending on the security and transport costs involved when handling physical cash. According to a study conducted in Bangladesh, it will save up to 750 hours of staff time per month due to eliminating waiting times on receiving payments. Employees will benefit from more control of their personal finances, as well as decreasing risk of theft and loss.
H&M has 1.6 million workers throughout its global supply chain. If cotton farmers and producers of raw materials are also taken into account, the introduction of digitalized payments could reach up to 250 million people. H&M’s commitment could encourage more fashion retailers to join suit, helping to improve the payment system and lives of even more supply chain workers.
More information on the impact of this system can be found here.
Have a great weekend!
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