BM y Microsoft compiten también en diseñar soluciones tecnológicas para la cadena de suministro. La información que viaja con cada mercancía es el nuevo tesoro para ofrecer el mejor servicio logístico. A continuación destacamos un magnífico reportaje del New York Times sobre la tecnología Blockchain:
It was the chairman of IBM Europe, Erich Clementi, who personally pitched the concept to the top technology executive at Maersk. Like Walmart, Maersk had already been looking for years for a better way to trace the goods it ships around the globe. For Maersk, the problem was not tracking the familiar rectangular shipping containers that sail the world aboard its cargo ships — instead, it was the mountains of paperwork that go with each container. Maersk had found that a single container could require stamps and approvals from as many as 30 people, including customs, tax officials and health authorities. While the containers themselves can be loaded on a ship in a matter of minutes, a container can be held up in port for days because a piece of paper goes missing, while the goods inside spoil. The cost of moving and keeping track of all this paperwork often equals the cost of physically moving the container around the world.
What’s more, the system is rife with fraud. The valuable bill of lading is often tampered with or copied to let criminals siphon off goods or circulate counterfeit products, leading to billions of dollars in maritime fraud each year. Maersk and IBM began working on a version of its software that would be open to everyone involved with every container. When customs authorities signed off on a document, they could immediately upload a copy of it, with a digital signature, so that everyone else involved — including Maersk and government authorities — could see that it was complete. If there were disputes later, everyone could go back to the record and be confident that no one had altered it in the meantime. The cryptography involved would make it hard for the virtual signatures to be forged.
The first test of the system happened last summer and tracked all of the paperwork related to a container of flowers moving from the Port of Mombasa in Kenya to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It went well enough that Maersk and IBM followed up by tracking containers with pineapples from Colombia, and mandarin oranges from California. The difficulty of making this work in the real world is that everyone at every step along the way needs to be involved, otherwise it’s unlikely to induce any more confidence than the old system.
“You need to have something in it for all stakeholders, in order to get the whole chain going,” said Jakob Stausholm, the chief financial and technology officer at Maersk, who is leading the project. “That’s the difficult part.”