Blockchain and supply chain: Their distributed nature and great compatibility

ARYZE spoke with Stephan Nilsson, founder and CEO of UNISOT. He shared with us how Satoshi’s white paper inspired him to found UNISOT, the need for improved supply chain management, and how blockchain can be leveraged for social impact. 

The future of blockchain adoption is a widely discussed topic. Whereas in some cases the technology is already disrupting various industries, in other areas its application is still much debated. One of the situations where we can see blockchain proving its worth is within global supply chain management. As companies face issues of trust and customers demand for greater transparency, traditional practices become increasingly insufficient. Information management and distribution need to be handled more efficiently, and this is what UNISOT has come to solve. 

Stephan Nilsson founded UNISOT in 2017, after working as an Enterprise Integration Architect for 20 years. During these years, Nilsson experienced difficulties in information exchange between different companies, especially ones that are involved in global supply chains. As many companies still use old, insecure, and expensive electronic data interchange (EDI) and EDIFACT (international standard for EDI) technologies, information flows inefficiently from one party to another. On top of that, Nilsson saw the lack of incentives for companies to actually send more than the absolutely necessary information.  

This all changed for the entrepreneur once he read Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper in 2011. Satoshi is the creator of Bitcoin, currently the biggest existing blockchain protocol in the world.  

When I read the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper, I realized that the distributed Blockchain technology would solve many of the problems I had experienced in the industry. 

Inspired by what the distributed technology had to offer, Nilsson embarked on a new journey. In 2015, he started to develop prototypes where he aimed to integrate SAP, the ERP system he had mainly been working with during his career, with blockchain functionality. In 2017, UNISOT was officially founded and expanded in 2019 through the onboarding of investors. The company focuses on solving issues within global supply chain management by using a blockchain-based platform. 

supply chain

Nilsson believes that blockchain technology and global supply chains share inherent characteristics and could therefore successfully work together.   

Global supply chains are by nature distributed, many different independent companies work together from seed-to-plate or from raw-material-to-product. Distributed blockchain technology is a very good fit in this environment between independent companies that normally have little or no trust between each other. 

Establishing trust in global supply chains

The trust issue is a structural problem within global supply chains, as it requires the involvement of expensive and often insecure third parties. These middlemen often delay processes and carry human bias, which causes ineffeciency for the whole chain. Nilsson argues that blockchain technology can offer real solutions and improve the industry: 

The public permissionless blockchain can be used to enable, as well as incentivize, companies to exchange information securely, in real-time, and even be able to sell & buy information between each other. 

Not only is there a need for information exchange between companies, but there is also a growing demand for information from the customer’s side. Transparency is becoming extremely important for businesses as both end-consumers and buyers seek for more exact information about content, ingredients, origin, travel distance, etc. when they buy and receive products or services. With current centralized database systems, Nilsson believes it is very difficult and expensive to compile and provide this information.  

With UNISOT’s solutions, the issue of transparency and lack of efficient information management can be solved. One of UNISOTS initiatives to improve this within global supply chains is SeafoodChain.  

“SeafoodChain powered by UNISOT” is an industry-vertical solution for the global seafood and aquaculture industry where we provide a “Zero Barrier of Entry” SaaS solution for all size companies to get involved in the information flows in their supply chain. 

This solution enables parties in the supply chain, for example, a fish producer, to provide or sell core information to other actors in the chain. Other features of SeafoodChain include global product traceability, proof-of-origin, and product provenance. 

UNISOT’s mission is to allow companies of all sizes and customers to engage in the exchange of information within global supply chains. This goal becomes tangible in cases where small family businesses at the edges of global supply chains can start to participate and earn money on the information they provide to the other parties involved. Small businesses, such as farmers, fishermen, or single carpenters now are able to exchange value on their own conditions within a secure network made available through blockchain technology. 

This development will become increasingly adopted over the coming years, Nilsson believes, as more secure and real-time data will be exchanged. Leading to more efficient and low-cost processes, and eventually to a more sustainable and healthy world economy. 

If you’d like to learn more about Stephan Nilsson, please connect with him on LinkedIn, or visit UNISOT’s website. For more interviews with tech entrepreneurs and other experts, please go to the ARYZE blog or check out our website

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