Blockchain in retail

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Digital transformation Blockchain in retail

Published on 12.01.2021 by Tatjana Meier, Blockchain Practice Leader, IBM Services Switzerland

2020 was dominated by increased pressure on the retail sector to reduce costs and make processes more efficient at the same time as growing demands from customers for more transparency and sustainability. Digitization can be of assistance in mastering these challenges.

The pandemic has forced many companies to rethink their business model, accelerate their digital transformation and launch programmes to improve efficiency and productivity. This is the only way they can continue to be agile and competitive in the marketplace.

More intelligent workflows help companies deploy new technologies such as AI, IoT, blockchain and automation to transform working methods internally and externally, while simultaneously generating added value for customers.

Let’s take the IBM Food Trust solution in the food sector as a specific example, which was developed by IBM:

This solution is based on blockchain technology and facilitates more transparent tracking of foods from farmers to end consumers. This type of transparency is increasingly expected by consumers. They want to know exactly how sustainably their goods were produced and transported.

Blockchain is the key element for transparently proving added value from sustainability.

More transparent tracing of food also brings many advantages for the participating companies. Spoiled food can be removed from circulation more effectively and in a more targeted manner by reacting more quickly to recalls. Before blockchain, this process often created a large paper trail and entailed lots of manual effort.

There are also other new technologies available to make processes more efficient and automate them besides blockchain technology.

IoT helps feed data directly into the blockchain without risk of falsification. When transporting perishable goods, for example, this ensures the required temperature in the cold chain has been consistently maintained. And if this isn’t the case, appropriate measures can then be taken. Processes can be performed through automation by using smart contracts, i.e. digital contracts, which increases speed and process quality.

The potential of the data and insights gained with the new technologies can be used to evaluate the existing business model with the help of analytics and artificial intelligence, but also to design the future corporate strategy.

Although digital transformation has long been part of the agenda of every company, the current situation has shown that many companies are still not where they should be in order to remain relevant in the future market.

Tatjana Meier, Blockchain Practice Leader, IBM Services Switzerland

Tatjana Meier has 20 years’ experience in providing consultancy services to various industries. She heads Blockchain Practice at IBM Services Switzerland and works at a European level at IBM for the consumer goods industry in its Food Trust division. Tatjana studied business administration and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black.

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