Louis’s Learnings: Of Blockchains, Supply Chains and Amara’s Law

gartners hype cycle

Good news, this is NOT yet another article extolling the virtues of blockchains! In fact, it’s somewhat the contrary. I’m not saying that blockchains are bad or useless, but I think some of us have been a little too optimistic in terms of their use in the supply chain domain.

I’ve read some interesting applications relating to the trade of diamonds and specialty pharmaceuticals. However, these are high-value products where maintaining a high level of security, traceability, and visibility in the supply chain results is an effective method to reduce overall costs.

While most of the clients I deal with ARE looking to deepen their relationships with suppliers and customers, they are still at a basic stage of trading data via email, web portal or in some advanced cases using EDI. It’s not that they wouldn’t benefit from blockchains, it’s just that it seems like such a stretch when some orders are still coming in via phone or fax.

This reminds me of Amara’s Law which states that we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run. So, my advice is to let things play out for a while. The blockchain technology will continue to develop and become more accessible. It may eventually become a tool we can more readily incorporate into our supply chain as we send our fax machines to the recycling bin.

Louis Bourassa is the Analytics & Optimization Practice Head at JBF Consulting. He provides analytical and optimization support to JBF clients. Louis has a diverse background with a mix of industry, consulting and software roles that allowed him to develop a strong business acumen and expert knowledge of supply chain analysis and design.

Founded in 2003, JBF Consulting is a supply chain execution strategy and systems integrator to logistics-intensive companies of every size and any industry. Our background and deep experience in the field of packaged logistics technology implementation positions us as industry leaders whose craftsmanship exceeds our client expectations. We expedite the transformation of supply chains through logistics & technology strategy, packaged & bespoke software implementation, and analytics & optimization. For more information, visit us at www.jbf-consulting.com