In the year 2022 the logistics industry’s annual revenue will top $15 trillion dollars. The market size and potential is immense, but it is also complex. The global supply chain consists of millions of actors and a myriad of cargo types. No supply chain is the same and very rarely do two actors in the supply chain have the exact same problem. While advances in the physical supply chain have been made, the associated information supply chain is where the logistics industry has fallen behind. With existing technologies and solutions, supply-chain-wide transparency and visibility of information is almost impossible. Participants are restricted to sharing pre-agreed information on a point-to-point basis using pre-Internet communication protocols. This means the majority of cargo information is locked away in siloed legacy systems. A different approach to sharing information is required to bring innovation and improve supply chain visibility.
Originally, blockchain technology was designed for digital currencies such as Bitcoin. It wasn’t long before the tech community recognised its potential for other applications, to the point it’s become the backbone of a new type of Internet. As everyone in the supply chain industry is aware, managing a chain is complex. It can involve hundreds of stages, many locations, many financial transactions, and potentially thousands of people communicating with each other. There is a real need for more streamlined and efficient processes. Blockchain is emerging as a potential solution, the new technology makes it easier to track and trace a product, allowing all partners involved to see where it has originated, where it’s been, and where it’s destined to go. This level of transparency makes it harder for counterfeiters to hack into supply chain systems and cause problems.
With the emergence of blockchain and the impact it’s having on supply chains, there are opportunities for application developers to get in on the action. According to Gartner, the emergence of technologies like blockchain, IoT, AI, and robotics is fuelling rapid expansion in the supply chain software market. They expect this market to total $USD 19 billion by 2021, and continue growing at a compound rate of 7.5% to 2024. What this means is the opportunity to develop supply chain apps is immense.