Building Blockchains

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The term “blockchain” is buzzing. Here’s how it will impact the footwear business. 

FN Insights: Technology BY LAUREN OLSEN

Eric Linxwiler CBX Software, SVP

Blockchain is front and center in the footwear industry. And for good reason — it has major potential to transform retail. Just ask CBX Software SVP Eric Linxwiler. “Blockchain is not one system, not one platform, not one technology but rather separate applications or technology platforms enabling specific ‘links in the chain,’” said Linxwiler.

To be specific, blockchain is a secure, decentralized digital ledger used to store and record transactions and data across computers and servers.  “Blockchain for the retail business provides a way to execute and track transactions at 1,000 times the normal rate, while providing transparency and security each step of the way — which is much better for executing business transactions,” said Linxwiler.

“Blockchain would not only help [brands and retailers] but also bring tremendous benefits to their entire supplier ecosystem.” According to the SVP, these advantages ring true for supply chain management, quality assurance and social responsibility. “All three [of those elements] shine a light on the vast overarching benefits to be realized for retail global sourcing.

For supply chain management, blockchain offers the benefits of traceability and cost-effectiveness,” he said. “For example, blockchain can be used to track the movement of goods, their origin and quantity. It can also speed up sourcing, product development and delivery cycle times. “For quality assurance, blockchain offers the chance to detect a product’s irregularity somewhere along the supply chain. For example, blockchain can lead you where a defective product originated from or where a defective component of a product was originally manufactured. This makes it easier for businesses to carry out investigations and execute the necessary actions in support of global social responsibility and sustainability.”

Despite the benefits that blockchain may bring, Linxwiler said the retail industry has a way to go to successfully deploy the tech. “Legacy operational siloes keep many companies from either developing clear business plans around blockchain or collaborating with ecosystem partners for mass adoption,” he said. “Generally speaking, retail organizations are slow to act when it comes to widespread technology and business process innovation adoption.” Still, Linxwiler remains hopeful. “We do see a shift in thinking over the last couple years as retail technology focused giants such as Amazon and Walmart aggressively lead the pack in most categories,” he said, “and it is forcing others to follow suit or become an afterthought.”

 

Source: Footwear News 7/9/2018 Issue – FN Insights: Technology BY LAUREN OLSEN
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