Sweetbridge Integration, Universal Protocols, and Seamless Supply Chains
Article by Bettina Warburg
Technologies don’t evolve linearly but instead through multiple breakthroughs from different innovators, which usually results in a complicated assortment of products from separate vendors. Modern supply chains are rife with such splintering, creating tremendous inefficiencies and lost value through the pervasive use of different platforms.
Given the interwoven nature of supply chains, a significant number of common assets serves multiple companies. Sweetbridge Inc., a company specializing in blockchain-based technologies within the logistics space, is actively working towards a solution that addresses the highly segmented nature of supply chains. Their ultimate goal is to unlock stagnant working capital and siloed data that inhibits an efficient flow of information. Sweetbridge’s work in universal protocols is creating a framework that shares information amongst those many participants. This unique approach treats the global supply chain as a single entity rather than a loosely stitched collection of individual parties.
Supply Chains Lack Universal Data Distribution
Companies have typically relied on inter-enterprise solutions to maximize their supply chain efficiency on an in-house basis, primarily through ERP systems in recent years. As beneficial as an ERP platform might be for a single company, it cannot provide a state-view of the entire supply chain, creating gaps of unsynchronized data. Those gaps in data and communication create obstacles to effective deployment of shipping containers and other capital assets essential to supply chains.
The lack of liquidity amongst those assets – estimated at 25% underutilization by the Federal Reserve – creates a cascading effect that negatively impacts everyone from manufacturers to consumers. Sweetbridge’s work on universal protocols and a decentralized framework will make better use of liquid capital assets by significantly shrinking lead time in supply chains.
An issue Sweetbridge has encountered is distrust companies have in a single entity providing a universal solution that all participants within the supply chain must rely upon for data management. While most understand the benefits of supply chains with a free flow of information, they fear handing over such control to one provider.
Coordinated efforts within particular industries have afforded some of the benefits of shared information – in the auto industry, for instance – but have lacked the advanced technologies needed to take full advantage of the collaborations.
Looking Ahead to the Future of Supply Chains
Creating and implementing universal protocols eliminates the data silos that have traditionally plagued supply chains, offering new means for communication and exchange.
Similarly, blockchain technologies will support payment infrastructures to better track results for order fulfillments against realized payments in real time. The opaqueness that currently impedes today’s supply chains will recede as competitors will have equal access to the same data infrastructure. Therefore, supply chain latencies will not determine the winners and losers but business strategies and innovation.
Whether it takes the form of a single decentralized, and open source network like the platform Sweetbridge is developing, or a series of localized, wholly integrated systems that interoperate with each other, efficient dissemination of logistics data will be the center point of an agile and productive global economy.
Blockchain will serve as the connective tissue within these networks and AI and IoT technologies will feed it the data needed for cognitive, hyperconnected supply chains to flourish within a decentralized framework. This presents immense new opportunities to create value.