Bitcoin tech eating into food supply chain?
Blockchain, the technology behind the digital asset and payment system bitcoin, has been making supply chain headlines in recent weeks. IBM, for example, is betting big on blockchain technology within the supply chain industry as the company announced last week it will be opening a blockchain research center in Singapore. In addition to the new R&D center, IBM also announced it is building a platform for companies to track high value items across the supply network using blockchain technology. As identified on our blog, one sector with great potential for implementing blockchains is finished vehicle logistics.
Another industry that could benefit from blockchains is the food industry. While not always associated with high valued items, it is an industry that has been plagued with significant waste as well as a loss of consumer trust. Food scares such as mad cow disease and cross contamination have led end users and manufacturers to seek more information regarding the safety and authenticity of the products and raw materials they are purchasing. Blockchains have been referred to by the Economist as “the trust machine,” and could provide some much needed visibility into supply chain processes within the food industry. One specific example comes from a startup in the UK called Provenance, which is aiming to bring more visibility to the seafood industry. Using RFID tags which can be recorded to the block chain, the company is tracking the journey of a fish from hook to fork.
Read more on the potential for blockchains within the food industry here.
Don’t drink and … build auto parts?
An intriguing supply chain sustainability article hit the headlines this week involving a car company and a tequila brand. Ford Motor Company and Jose Cuervo announced on Tuesday that they will be teaming up to decipher whether or not the fibers from leftover agave plants can be used to build sustainable bioplastic car parts for Ford’s vehicles. Potential car parts that would contain these agave fibers include storage bins, HVAC units and wiring harnesses.
Jose Cuervo extracts juices from between 200 and 300 tons of agave each day which results in a lot of left over agave pieces. With Ford focusing on increased use of plant-based materials for its plastics as part of its efforts to become “greener,” Jose Cuervo may have just found an excellent partner for its waste. If the agave plastic compound proves successful, Ford will not only become greener and more sustainable in its operations, but the automobiles’ weight will be reduced which will in turn reduce energy consumption.
Read about this unorthodox yet potential-filled partnership here.
Target makes another big supply chain hire
At the beginning of March, we covered Target’s acquisition of top supply chain professional, Arthur Valdez from Amazon, which resulted in quite a controversy. The dispute between Mr. Valdez and Amazon has since been resolved but the conditions of the agreement remain confidential. On Wednesday, the retail giant announced the hiring of another seasoned professional, Benjamin Cook, who previously worked within the supply chain function at Kimberly-Clark, Home-Depot and most recently Apple. Mr. Cook was head of logistics and supply chain for the Americas at Apple. In his new role, he will be focusing on helping Target make the required operational adjustments to better serve the company’s increasing online business. Special focus will be placed on carrier transportation strategies and last-mile delivery efforts. In a talent-needy branch, Target has pulled in some of the industry’s best within the last 6 months in order to help them remain relevant on the ecommerce front.
Read more about Target’s recent hiring here.
Have a nice weekend!