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Samsung dials into blockchain to run supply chain
THE world's biggest maker of smartphones and semiconductors may use the technology behind cryptocurrencies to manage its vast global supply network.
Samsung Electronics is considering a blockchain ledger system to keep track of global shipments worth tens of billion of dollars a year, according to Song Kwang-woo, blockchain chief at Samsung SDS, the group's logistical and information and technology arm. The system could cut shipping costs by 20 per cent, according to SDS.
While companies around the world have said they're planning to deploy blockchain technology on everything from cross-border payments to tracking the life-cycle of supermarket chickens, Samsung Group is one of the first global manufacturers to take a serious look at using the distributed ledgers in its operations. SDS is working on the system for Samsung Electronics, the conglomerate's crown jewel.
"It will have an enormous impact on the supply chains of manufacturing industries," said Mr Song, who's also a vice-president at SDS. "Blockchain is a core platform to fuel our digital transformation."
Thrust into the spotlight by bitcoin's meteoric rise, blockchain technology has been touted as a breakthrough that will transform the way transactions are recorded, verified and shared. While its impact on the corporate world has been limited so far, Gartner predicts blockchain-related businesses will create US$176 billion of value by 2025.
Blockchain proponents in the shipping industry say the technology reduces the time needed to send paperwork back and forth and to coordinate with port authorities.
Documentation costs for container shipments are more than twice as big as those for transportation, according to IBM, which is working with AP Moeller-Maersk to track cargo movements and automate shipping paperwork.
SDS expects to handle 488,000 tons of air cargo and 1 million 20-foot-equivalent shipping units this year. That would include organic light-emitting diode displays and Galaxy S9 phones made by Samsung Electronics.
A blockchain system may help the company reduce the time lag between product launches and actual shipments, making it easier to respond to rival products and shifting consumer appetites in emerging markets like China, said Cheong Tae-su, professor of industrial engineering at Korea University in Seoul. BLOOMBERG