Navigating the Digital Landscape: Transforming Supply Chains into Value Networks with Blockchain, AI, and IoT

Our co-founder Dr. Fred Steinmetz had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion at the Erster Deutscher Lieferkettentag 2023, which delved into the transformative power of digitalization in the supply chain. Titled “Digitalisierung in der Lieferkette oder: von der Supply Chain zum Value Network mit Blockchain, KI und IoT,” the panel explored the integration of technologies like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) to propel supply chains into the realm of value networks and how they can empower businesses to master the increasingly strict regulations.

Decoding the Event: Regulation, digitization and the future of global trade

The event itself, themed “Regulierung, Digitalisierung und die Zukunft des globalen Handels,” brought together decision-makers from wholesale, affiliated groups, e-commerce, and industry for a dialogue with policymakers, academics, and service providers. The urgency was palpable—starting in 2024, new due diligence requirements along supply chains would extend to companies with more than 1,000 employees. The ongoing discussions about potential exemptions from reporting obligations merely hinted at a delay rather than a resolution to the underlying challenges. Against this backdrop, the “Deutscher Lieferkettentag 2023” on October 18, organized by BGA, Mittelstandsverbund, BME, and BEVH, became a forum to dissect challenges and unearth opportunities.

Diving into the Dibichain Project

During the panel, Fred had the opportunity to share insights derived from his involvement in the publicly funded research project Dibichain. This groundbreaking initiative aimed to pilot a blockchain-based digital twin for products, incorporating information about production and materials from all entities along the supply chain. One of the primary goals was to create a comprehensive tool for adequately reporting CO2 emissions associated with products. By leveraging blockchain’s transparency and traceability, they were able to conduct data-driven evaluations regarding the recycling or extension of product life cycles.

The Intersection of Technology and Responsibility

The “Digitization in the supply chain” panel underscored the transformative potential of technology in not only meeting regulatory demands but elevating ethical standards in supply chains. The Dibichain project exemplifies how blockchain, can bring about a paradigm shift – even more so in combination with AI. By creating a digital twin that encapsulates a product’s journey from inception to delivery, developments such as Dibichain empower businesses to make informed decisions about sustainability and carbon footprints.

Charting the Path Forward

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of supply chain regulations, the integration of cutting-edge technologies becomes more than a necessity—it’s a strategic imperative. The shift from a traditional supply chain to a value network, as discussed in the panel, isn’t just a technological leap; it’s a commitment to transparency, sustainability, and ethical practices. The “Erster deutscher Lieferkettentag 2023” served as a launchpad for these discussions, and we want to thank the organizers for inviting me to the discussion.

If you are interested in more substantial information about our research with regards to supply chain, logistics, freight services and how blockchain can unfold high anticipated efficiency potentials, you can find more information here or directly get in touch with BRL co-founder Fred Steinmetz.