Walmart begins blockchain ledger for supply chain

WALMART

Walmart begins blockchain ledger for supply chain

Supermarket giant Walmart has won praise from analysts following a foray into blockchain technology in a bid to cut out bad practices and improve efficiency in its supply chain. Walmart has issued mandatory requirements for selected suppliers to track the food from the moment it leaves the farm to when it reaches the user at home.

Walmart decided to start the initiative with leafy greens. By September 2019, all of Walmart’s suppliers on that front must upload tracking information through IBM’s Food Trust network, and it is hoped that one of the main benefits will be identifying any bad supply that has made its way through the chain and onto the table, particularly any foodstuffs that have been seen to cause illness.

A letter was sent out to “fresh leafy greens suppliers” in the US as part of the Food Traceability Initiative. What kicked off the initiative was an E.coli outbreak across multiple states, which was eventually linked to romaine lettuces being grown in Arizona. It is hoped that blockchain traceability will make this much easier to spot, and help to reduce any litigation that comes their way as a result of illnesses.

The University of Arkansas’ Supply Chain Research Center Director John Kent hailed this as a “big leadership step”, especially as “they’re requiring their supply chain partners to cooperate”. Noting that this plan would not work “without willing participants in the supply chain”, Kent said that although he believes that blockchain will be fully replicated across all supermarket supply chains in the future, food safety seems like a good place to start.

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