Tag: supply chain



A day hardly passes without an urgent headline focused on the economic transformation underway wrought by blockchain technology. The software is the power behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but Olin experts have been plumbing the deeper implications of the technology.

Here are five things business leaders should know right now about blockchain from Panos Kouvelis, director of Olin’s Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation, and Ohad Kadan, H. Frederick Hagemann, Jr. Professor of Finance and Associate Dean for Global Degree Programs. Then, watch for a way to learn more.

Peer-to-Peer Transactions—Like Cash

Blockchain technology has been developed as an efficient method for completing financial transactions, based on the principle of peer-to-peer involvement and fully decentralized and shared networks. It functions as a distributed ledger that provides visibility of all transactions to all parties in the chain, and it is built on an immutable database.

Early Applications

Beyond cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, etherium, and litecoin, the blockchain has been used in supply chain finance in areas such as clearing financial payments, using digital ledgers, and executing “smart” contracts.

Digital Inventory Tracking

Key inventory and asset resources can take on a digital footprint, which provides additional security and tracking capabilities. Applications have been built, relying on the blockchain, to track and trace goods involved in the supply chain for industries such as the diamond trade, food, and pharmaceuticals.

Applications Still Being Conceived

Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize supply chains and it requires the immediate attention of supply chain managers. Many are scrambling to understand how a technology developed to support cryptocurrencies might be applicable to supply chains and, in particular, to the supply chains of their companies. Experts say the technology will reduce friction in global shipping operations and complex supply chains that involve goods flowing across borders, through ports, and involving governmental agencies, manufacturing, and retail firms.

Kouvelis and Kadan will help business leaders get further up-to-speed on the ways blockchain technology will enhance (or disrupt) their industry in a two-day seminar May 22-23 called “Blockchain Innovation Strategies: Early Lessons from an Emerging Technology.” Click for more about this workshop.

The workshop is structured as a forum to learn more about the technology and equip attendees to know what questions to ask as they explore the implications of blockchain for their business. Coming out of the workshop, attendees should better understand the potential application of the technology in their supply chains, gain inspiration about possible immediate benefits the technology can provide, and confront obstacles and challenges in implementing it.


Jorge Calvo, Professor of Operations Strategy at GLOBIS University Management School and former President & CEO of the Global Supply Chain Management Division of Roland DG Systems, recently sat down with the Director of The Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation, Panos Kouvelis, to talk about Industry 4.0 and its implications on the future of global manufacturing.

Industry 4.0 was a term coined to describe a program to support the local industry in Germany and France. It is considered to be the fourth major phase of the industrial revolution, characterized by its use of emerging technologies to enhance manufacturing techniques and supply chain processes.

In his experience, Calvo has found that there are two different approaches within the scope of Industry 4.0: the German approach, focusing on machine-to-machine production practices and supply chain management (i.e., the “smart factory” and the Internet of Things), and the Japanese approach, which focuses on cloud-based technology designed for process optimization through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and download our app on iOS or Android for access to exclusive content and events!


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A Boeing Center digital production

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

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The Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation (BCSCI), in collaboration with Monsanto, has once again produced a challenging case in global supply chain and technology management for the return of the Monsanto Olin Case Competition on February 8, 2018.

Seven teams have been selected as finalists, representing institutions from across the U.S. and Canada, including:

  • Arizona State University
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Ivey Business School
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • MIT
  • Texas Christian University
  • Washington University in St. Louis

We are proud to announce that Lin Kang (Team Captain), Himanshu Aggarwal, Tyler Daniel, and Jamie Yue, all MBA 2018, will represent Olin in the case competition.

Tyler Daniel, Himanshu Aggarwal, Jamie Yue, and Lin Kang

For the final round held at WashU’s campus in February, the seven teams will each make 15-minute presentations and have a ten-minute question and answer period responding to a case on product rollover strategies, production and inventory planning challenges in seed corn supply chains.

The five judges—all from Monsanto and Olin—will be looking for depth of analysis and originality of thought. As a “warm-up,” the student teams will tour Monsanto’s campus the day before the case competition and be treated to a Monsanto panel and a reception to meet, learn more, and network.

Olin is looking forward to a great experience for the participants and wish all the teams good luck! The winners will receive $10,000 for first prize, $5,000 for second prize, and $2,500 for third prize.


One of the biggest challenges in the healthcare industry is reducing operating costs, and one area of opportunity for cost savings is through the supply chain. In part two of our interview with Jean-Claude Saghbini, Chief Technology Officer at Wolters Kluwer Health (and formerly of Cardinal Health), we focus on technology implementation in the healthcare supply chain. Be sure to check out part one of our interview with Saghbini.

Saghbini explains that although the push to utilize RFID and other inventory management technology initially came from early adopters, he is coming to find that the implementation of such resources is becoming necessary to manage all healthcare networks as they continue to grow. He finds that one of the key benefits realized by hospitals investing in new technology is significant cost savings via inventory reduction. Oftentimes, the reduction in inventory can be as high as 20-25%, which translates to millions of dollars. He also notes a decrease in expiration rates, better product tracking to patients, and an increase in patient safety resulting from enhanced technology utilization. All of these factors can add up to a 150-300% return on investment annually, not just for hospitals, but for device manufacturers as well.

Saghbini also talks about the benefit of RFID’s ability to integrate data across an entire healthcare network (for example, electronic medical records and hospitals’ material management systems). He is also exploring ways to leverage RFID in ways that allow communication with near-field communication in patients’ cell phones. If the two similar technologies are effectively integrated, it would allow the healthcare supply chain to be tracked all the way to the consumer.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and download our app on iOS or Android for access to exclusive content and events!


• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube


Blockchain is an emerging technology that has the potential to create a paradigm shift in the way we think about financial transactions. It has the ability to record transactions via a shared ledger and can be applied across many industries and currencies. The first major application of blockchain was Bitcoin, an unregulated cryptocurrency that was very resource intensive to mine. But business applications for blockchain will likely differ in several key areas.

At The Boeing Center’s 9th annual Industry Conference in October, Ed Corno, Client Technology Leader at IBM, gave a presentation on blockchain from the IBM perspective. He claimed that the technology’s business applications will focus on identity over anonymity, selective endorsement over proof of work, and assets over cryptocurrency.

Ed Corno, Client Technology Leader at IBM

Corno defines the four key tenets of a shared, replicated, permissioned ledger (as characterized by blockchain’s business applications) are consensus, provenance, immutability, and finality. This shared ledger would serve as the one record of all transactions across the business network, and participants would be able to see only relevant transactions.

According to Corno, the requirements of blockchain for business are the aforementioned shared ledger, a smart contract embedded into the transaction database, the privacy to ensure that transactions are secure and verifiable, and trust between all participants.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and download our app on iOS or Android for access to exclusive content and events!


• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube


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