Supply Chain News

Walmart Requires Blockchain Technology to be Deployed by Certain Produce Suppliers

U.S. retail giant Walmart and its division Sam’s Club will require suppliers of leafy greens to implement a farm-to-store tracking system based on blockchain technology.

Blockchain Technology

According to Walmart, The end-to-end traceability system is based on distributed ledger technology developed by computing giant IBM and will require suppliers to implement blockchain technology by September 2019.

How Do You Know Your Food Is Safe To Eat?

This isn’t a question many of us often ask ourselves. But lately, food safety has been in the public eye: 2018 has already seen a large outbreak of E. coli in romaine lettuce and Salmonella in a number of products from eggs to breakfast cereal, Walmart reported.

Walmart Asks Suppliers of Leafy Greens to Use Blockchain

Today, Walmart and Sam’s Club sent a letter to suppliers of fresh, leafy greens asking them to trace their products all the way back to the farm using blockchain technology.

Suppliers are expected to have all these systems in place by this time next year.

This change means that the information gathered by these suppliers will be open and accessible through technology that offers real-time, end-to-end traceability from farm to table. Blockchain allows for digitized sharing of data in a secure and trusted way.

Improving Farm-to-Table Transparency

What happens when the food you buy has been identified as having Salmonella or E. coli? You may not know where or how your Caesar salad was affected. You just know you don’t want your family to get sick when eating it.

This year, many customers and grocers were forced to throw away large amounts of romaine lettuce when an E. coli contamination in romaine lettuce spread through the food industry. Health officials at the Centers for Disease Control told Americans to avoid eating lettuce that was grown in Yuma, Arizona.

“But it was difficult for consumers to know how to determine where their lettuce was grown,” explained Frank Yiannas, VP of Food Safety at Walmart.

“None of the bags of salad had ‘Yuma, Arizona’ on them,” he said. “In the future, using the technology we’re requiring, a customer could potentially scan a bag of salad and know with certainty where it came from.”

It’s crucial to respond quickly and accurately to food safety issues like these. But with the traditional paper-based method of capturing information that exists at many farms, packing houses and warehouses, tracking down important data from multiple sources is extremely time-consuming.

With paper-based ledgers, Yiannas mentioned that it may take his team seven days to track down where a product came from. The team has to contact the supplier, get paper records and use those records to contact the company that imported or shipped the product to Walmart’s distribution center.

Seven days may seem like a long time, but take into consideration the path ahead of romaine lettuce takes to get to your salad bowl:

  • At the farm, the lettuce is planted in a field; it grows, and a farmer harvests it.
  • The next step sends the head of romaine to a processing facility where it gets washed, sliced and bagged.
  • Next, it’s transported to a distribution center where it’s sorted and placed on trucks for delivery.
  • Once the store receives the lettuce, associates unload it from a truck and immediately move it to a cooler where it is taken to the sales floor.
  • From the sales floor, the lettuce is either put in a customer’s cart or selected by a personal shopper for grocery pickup or delivery.
  • Now, the customer gets to eat the romaine lettuce in his or her favorite recipe.

Multiply this process by the 70,000 food items stocked in a typical grocery store, and you have an almost insurmountable challenge.

“The food system is absolutely too large for any single entity to [track],” Yiannas said.

Walmart Requires Blockchain Technology to be Deployed by Certain Produce Suppliers

Blockchain Changes Everything

“We’ve been working with IBM to digitize that, so the information is captured on the farm with a handheld system. It’s [also] captured at the packing house at the supplier,” Yiannas continued. 

Now, Walmart plans to use the power of blockchain to speed up identifying, researching and reacting to food safety situations. Today’s news is the first step of bringing the benefits of open and transparent information to the food industry.

What is Blockchain, and Why is it Important?

Blockchain is a system of recordkeeping that is open to users. When a piece of permissioned information (or “block”) gets entered into the chain, other computers in the network are notified. This makes falsifying information very difficult because the change of information is open for all to see.

Think of these blocks of information as railroad ties. To place a tie on the ground, an agreement is needed by all the civil engineer, the foreman and so on. Once the tie is placed on the ground, the rail the train travels on is placed on top.

The tie is the block. The rail is the chain. That’s the basic concept of the blockchain.

Now, imagine trying to remove and alter one of those railroad ties. It’s not that simple. The tie can’t be altered without stopping trains, removing the rails, getting agreement from the civil engineer, and so on. Plus, everyone can see that you’re altering the railway, so you better make sure you get it right. There is a lot of accountability.

That’s what it is like to attempt to alter information in the blockchain. The information is out in the open creating greater transparency to changes. With increased accessibility comes more accuracy and trust.

This accuracy and trust are extremely important when both public health and livelihoods are on the line. Instead of taking a week to hunt down information about potential Salmonella in a product, blockchain tracking takes only a couple of seconds.

This gives food safety teams and customers alike the ability to react quickly.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control believes that this change will help make more effective recalls.

Walmart Requires Blockchain Technology to be Deployed by Certain Produce Suppliers

Building Trust Through Transparency

Walmart’s new requirement is about making food safer throughout the supply chain.

“Customers trust us to help them put quality food on their tables for themselves and their families,” said Charles Redfield, executive vice president of food for Walmart U.S. “We have to go further than offering great food at an everyday low price. Our customers need to know they can trust us to help ensure that food is safe. These new requirements will help us do just that.”

Making information available in the interest of public safety is a step change for the industry. But it matters to everyone.

“When it comes to safety, this is not a competitive issue,” Yiannas said. “We all win or lose together.”

Related: Blockchain Technology and the Real-Time Global Supply Chain

Related Blockchain White Papers

Download the White Paper

Bridge to Blockchain: A Platform for Orchestrating Multi-Enterprise Networks New!
In this white paper, you will learn why blockchain platforms vary widely in terms capability, disclosure, confidentiality, anonymity, the cost to use, and speed, and why companies need to leverage more than one blockchain network to realize game-changing business models. Download Now!


Download the White Paper

Can Blockchain Revolutionize the Supply Chain?
In this white paper Ranjit Notani, One Network CTO examines Blockchain’s powerful potential as well as a major problem and whether and how Blockchains can revolutionize the Supply Chain. Download Now!


More Resources on Blockchain


Article Topics
Best Practices   Supply Chain   Supply Chain Optimization   Blockchain   Walmart   All topics


Comments
Be the first to post a comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Login.

 
Latest Supply Chain News
Demystifying Blockchain Technology and its Potential Capacity to Transform Global Trade
Amid growing interest and debate on blockchain, the World Trade Organization has launched a new publication titled “can blockchain revolutionize international trade?” that seeks to demystify the technology…

Automating Multi-Tier Processes, Elemica & crossinx Deliver Chemical Manufacturers Blockchain Pilot
Elemica, a leading Digital Supply Network for process manufacturing industries, and crossinx, a network for financial business collaboration solutions, have announced the completion of a successful blockchain…

Differences between Omnichannel & Omnichannel 2.0
Unlike the original definition of Omnichannel, Omnichannel 2.0 is about bringing the entire enterprise together, not just enabling support within legacy systems for an omnichannel approach, retailers and…

IHS Markit Chief Economist Nariman Behravesh Predicts Slowdown in Global Economy in 2019
Global economic growth will edge down to 3.0 percent in 2019, from a rate of 3.2 percent in 2018, according to the annual Top 10 Economic Predictions released by business information provider IHS Markit.


 

24|7 Pro Team

The 24|7 Team is your direct pipeline to solutions for your business challenges. It's your opportunity to have supply chain and logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information.

The 24|7 Team will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

1
  Choose a topic for your RFP

Transportation RFP/RFI

The Transportation RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your transportation challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific transportation challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect software or system can be an indomitable challenge. Using this transportation/TMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

Warehouse/DC Management RFP/RFI

The Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your WMS challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific WMS challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect WMS solution can be an indomitable challenge. Using this WMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your WMS Request for Proposal list.

Supply Chain RFP/RFI

The Supply Chain RFP is your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and receive free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information. It simplifies finding a pool of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list. The companies in the Logistics Planner have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up, and your request is totally confidential.

Software/Technology RFP/RFI

The Software/Technology is your direct pipeline to solutions for your logistics information technology challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific technology challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request. Whether it's WMS, TMS, Mobile or Cloud, our pros can help.

The companies listed below have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up. Your request is totally confidential.

Executive Education RFI

The Logistics and Supply Chain Education RFI can help you identify the schools, coursework, continuing education, distance learning and certification opportunities available from leading logistics educational institutions.

Upgrade and improve your logistics and supply chain skillsets. Whatever route you choose—advanced degree, executive education, certification or distance learning—the time and money you invest in your education today can pay off in continued career success tomorrow. Contact leading universities and professional institutions for the information you need to prepare for the future.

Third Party Logistics RFP/RFI

This 3PL Request for Proposal (RFP)/Request for Information (RFI) can help you find the 3PL and 4PL providers that can meet your specific 3PL service challenges and needs. The 3PL companies below will provide free, no-obligation third-party logistics advice, solutions, and information.

Ask your 3PL questions, you'll get answers. Simply complete the information, and detail your 3PL challenges. Then, check off the third-party logistics companies that you want to review your request.

1. Choose an RFI topic.
2. Enter your contact information and challenge.
3. Select companies and optional categories.
4. Submit.


2

Your Information



Your Challenge, Problem or Request *

3

Select Transportation Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Kuebix
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • One Network
  • Pitt Ohio
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SEKO Logistics
  • SMC3


Select Relevent Categories

  • Air Freight
  • Intermodal
  • Motor Freight
  • Ocean Freight
  • Rail Freight
  • TMS

Select Warehouse/DC Management Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Kuebix
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Swisslog
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Auto ID & Data Capture
  • Automation
  • Conveyors & Sortation
  • Lift Trucks
  • Packaging & Labeling
  • Pallets & Containers
  • Shelving & Racking
  • WMS

Select Supply Chain Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • 3PL Central
  • Amber Road
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • APICS
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Global Trade
  • Inventory Management
  • Risk Management
  • Sustainability

Select Software/Technology Companies

  • Select All

  • 3GTMS
  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • BluJay Solutions
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Swisslog Logistics
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • ERP
  • Sales & Operations
  • Sourcing/Procurement
  • Optimization
  • Transportation Mgmt
  • Warehouse Mgmt

Select Executive Education Choices

  • Select All

  • Graduate Courses
  • Online/Distance
  • Executive Education
  • Certifications
  • Undergraduate
  • Seminars
  • Associations
  • Conferences
  • Tradeshows


Select Third Party Logistics Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Purolator
  • SEKO Logistics
  • Westfalia Technologies


4
 

24|7 Company Profiles