SAP Launches Blockchain Supply Chain Initiative

Software giant SAP has announced a new food safety-related blockchain pilot and a collaboration with a Swiss supply chain startup.

May 14, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:56 a.m. UTC

Multinational software firm SAP is expanding its work with blockchain into the supply chain space.

Torsten Zube, SAP's blockchain lead, revealed Monday that the company is looking to apply the tech to agricultural supply chains by way of its Farm to Consumer initiative. Companies like Johnsonville, Naturipe Farms and Maple Leaf are working as additional collaborators on the project.

"The Farm to Consumer project perfectly showcases a common pattern we see in many of our blockchain projects," Zube wrote in a blog post detailing the initiative. "Cross-company collaboration along complex value chains for which the technology can remove abundant process steps and friction, and establish automated trust."

SAP will integrate the blockchain into its existing Global Track and Trace technology to act as "an additional layer complementary to core processes that creates one shared view on the data from all involved stakeholders contributing to the supply chain."

The enhanced technology, Zube contended, allows companies to trace the origins of food products, enter requests and offerings, and authenticate and execute transactions.

SAP also revealed that it has teamed up with Swiss supply chain startup modum.io to further its supply chain ventures. SAP plans to provide further details on the companies' joint work on pilot projects in June.

Zube is bullish on blockchain and thinks the technology could potentially reconfigure current food industry production models.

"If enterprises can access the complete version of product history," he explained, "this could result in a shift from a central unilateral supplier-led production to a consumer demand-led supply organized by a consortium of peers."

He went on to predict:

"Networking along the traditional lines of value chains will be replaced by sharing data governance, resources, processes and practices and lead to joint learning opportunities."

These undertakings are not SAP's only blockchain ventures. The company previously launched a "blockchain co-innovation initiative" to explore distributed business processes that utilize peer-to-peer networks. It is also a member of Spain's Alastria consortium, which focuses on inter-company data sharing, and the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA).

Image via Pete Rizzo for CoinDesk

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