How TradeLens Delivers Business Value with Blockchain Technology
Study: How TradeLens Delivers Business Value with Blockchain Technology
A longitudinal case study provides a rare glimpse into the development and evolution of TradeLens from 2013 to 2019. Data were collected from several sources, including interviews, conferences, focus groups, direct observation, project meetings, and field visits. The business value of this global supply chain system is still evolving, but seven valuable lessons provide guidance for future blockchain projects with interorganizational boundaries.
How it was studied:
Despite the growing interest in blockchain technology, there are few examples of business value being delivered by live solutions. One exception is TradeLens, a blockchain- enabled platform for tracking shipping containers and related documentation in global supply chains. This article describes the TradeLens journey from initial prototypes and pilots to its live deployment. Although TradeLens still has a long way to go, its vision to substantially improve global supply chains has kept participants engaged and committed to adopting and growing the ecosystem.
- TradeLens is a blockchain-based system used in the international container shipping industry.
- The system enables a trusted exchange of information between players.
- The system also enables them to comply with regulations while raising efficiency, reducing administrative costs, lead times, and risk
- Development of the system required cooperation between two firms, but the process was complex
- Slow adoption was due to initial concerns about the technology infrastructure being fully in place, and about whether shared documents can be trusted
Seven recommended actions include:
- Refocus strategies towards the entire ecosystem of customers, partners, authorities, and competitors
- Early on, focus on the vision, not the return on investment (ROI), because ROI builds as the network effect grows
- Solutions to interorganizational problems should be approached from the perspective of distributed control, not firm control
- Build partner trust before and after blockchain trust
- Some solutions require governmental authority backing early in the process.
- Evolve the governance model as adoption expands
- Consider blockchain interoperability in strategic plans