Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Microsoft helps Transpaency-One add blockchain to supply chain

Steve Rogerson
October 24, 2017
 
Microsoft is helping Transparency-One add blockchain capabilities to its supply chain transparency platform. This gives the Massachusetts-based company’s customers the option to add an additional layer of security to their data by storing critical supply chain information in Microsoft Azure's blockchain services.
 
Blockchain heightens the security of the data stored in Transparency-One by creating a ledger of all transactions between supply chain partners, and making it immutable. With this technology, all transactions, including any updates or modifications, are immediately recorded and stored in the blockchain. Blockchain data can immediately be accessed by designated supply chain partners, providing full transparency at each step of the supply chain.
 
"Blockchain is a powerful technology that can play an integral role in helping businesses achieve end-to-end supply chain transparency, in any industry," said Frédéric Daniel, chief technology officer of Transparency-One. "Transparency-One maps the complete supply chain down to the raw material, and blockchain ensures that every step of the process is permanently recorded, providing an even higher level of data security."
 
The blockchain services build on Transparency-One's supply chain digitisation and mapping technology. Brand owners, retailers, manufacturers and suppliers along the entire value chain can use this to discover their end-to-end supply chain networks, share and exchange relevant product, component and facility information, and analyse performance. The platform can manage a range of supply chain data, including:

  • Chain of custody: mapping of the complete supply chain;
  • Product integrity: product composition, quality, testing and safety information;
  • Supplier compliance: supplier and facility details, country of origin, certifications, and audits; and
  • Documentation: for regulatory compliance.
With the blockchain capabilities, users can achieve an additional layer of data protection by adding their supply chain data to an Ethereum blockchain. With one click in the platform, complete supply chain information discovered by Transparency-One is permanently recorded in the blockchain.
 
"Blockchain is a transformational technology with the ability to significantly reduce the friction of doing business and transform supply chains," said ShiSh Shridhar, Microsoft worldwide retail industry director. "Transparency-One's value proposition to map the entire supply chain, track compliance and provide analytics to proactively manage business risks, combined with the Microsoft Azure's blockchain services, will enable organisations to ensure the security and integrity of supply chain data."
 
While blockchain technology provides a record of all supply chain changes, additional measures are needed to guarantee data accuracy. Transparency-One's partnership with SGS provides validation services to ensure the quality, integrity and security of supply chain data.
 
As part of the service, SGS will verify the information entered into the platform both via integration with SGS databases and the supplier onboarding team. Any declared supplier certifications not yet validated by SGS can be verified then tagged. Once data are verified and tagged, they can no longer be changed by the supplier; any subsequent changes are stored as additional transactions in the blockchain, providing full traceability of the changes. This integration provides Transparency-One users with supply chain data that are secure and accurate.
 
Transparency-One helps companies discover, analyse and monitor all suppliers, components and facilities in the entire supply chain. It combines graph database technology, supply chain expertise and global supplier onboarding, in partnership with SGS, to help all supply chain stakeholders reduce business risk. The company is based in Boston, Massachusetts, with offices in France.