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Separating The Value From The Hype: Three Tech Trends Buzzing In The Supply Chain Market

Lindsey Eckerd

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Companies around the world are looking to digitally transform supply chain capabilities to holistically improve business performance, becoming more customer-centric, partnership-oriented and industry- minded. With that transformation comes the need for technology to scale in parallel. Legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are rich with data, and the ability to feed this data into entirely new systems, for example, a digital network platform, will enable applications for next generation technologies that support this transformation.

As these applications take shape, what do business leaders need to know about the latest technology advancements’ true potential to disrupt business processes as it relates to ERP? Here are three technology trends that executives and IT decision- makers overseeing supply chain transformation should be keeping an eye on – along with some helpful tips for evaluating worthwhile investments and understanding best use cases.


Blockchain was thrust into the spotlight as the underpinning technology behind cryptocurrency. Since then, it has been positioned as a general-purpose solution for many problems it is not necessarily suited for. Specifically, its features are best suited for applications that have a need for complete visibility into transactional data for all participants, immutability, and non-repudiation. In a nutshell, it is perfect for parties that don’t know or trust each other. Given its specific benefits and costs, it is best to carefully consider blockchain’s most applicable use cases for your company’s specific given business objectives before making an investment in a blockchain solution.

There are a handful of use cases in pharmaceutical supply chain that may be good candidates for blockchain technology. For example, the FDA is working with partners on a blockchain solution to support the track and trace

of drugs through the supply chain as part of regulatory efforts to improve drug safety. This is a novel use case for blockchain given the highly sensitive transactional data that is shared about medications making their way up and down the pharma supply chain, which helps to ensure there is a carefully tracked and encrypted record affirming every medication battle’s integrity and pedigree.

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