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Why Brands Can’t Afford to ‘Wait and See’ Before Digitizing the Supply Chain: Video

Rivet's 2020 Denim Circularity report takes a deep dive into how the global denim industry is plotting its circular future amidst a worldwide pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has split financially strong businesses into two mindsets when it comes to operating their supply chain strategies, according to Niall Murphy, CEO and founder of Evrythng. There are those that operate on the defensive and take a “wait and see” approach, and those that apply their balance sheet to put the right digital capabilities and new supply chain models in place to claim market share.

Citing Winston Churchill in a recent “On the Ground” video, Murphy encouraged brands to “never waste a good crisis,” especially if they have any intention of thriving post pandemic.

But despite the potential opportunities before them, companies are still holding back investments in digitization. It’s not a technology issue, though, given the mass proliferation of mobile devices and the growth of cloud computing and Internet of Things capabilities—it comes down to retailers’ willingness to take chances on these technologies, rather than being conservative, according to Murphy.

“The technological blockers are certainly being removed,” he said. “We then have the issue of ‘Are organizations ready to deal with digital transformation, ready to reimagine their retail or consumer experiences and ready to provide that level of transparency toward the consumer?’”

To solve many of the present supply chain problems exacerbated by COVID-19, Evrythng has entrenched one technology that many retail players still have little familiarity with: blockchain. With such a low education level across the industry, some brands are still grappling with one central conundrum: how to get all the stakeholders to buy into the technology?

That’s the question Murphy is hoping more supply chain players are willing to tackle. And the only way it gets solved, he said, is if the retail brands take ownership of the blockchain.

“The power players here are the retail brand owners,” Murphy said. “The retail brand owners requiring their suppliers to participate—that’s really what’s triggering this and making this work.”

Evrythng has taken steps since 2018 to assist brands via blockchain technology, introducing a Blockchain Integration Hub, designed to enable product data to be replicated to, or collected from, different blockchains. With the hub, Evrythng can assign products unique digital identities at the point of manufacture, specifically providing a link to unchangeable data about the factory, production, distribution and intended market.

“The big benefit of blockchain technology is that it provides a ledger in the cloud, so to speak, for each role player to record what they did and for that to be restored in an immutable form,” said Murphy, outlining what’s next for the industry where blockchain is concerned. “Nobody can go back and change the ledger.”

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Check out more in Sourcing Journal’s new ‘On the Ground’ video series, which brings new and needed voices in the supply chain to the fore.

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