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Blockchain technology: Implications for operations and supply chain management

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/07/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Issue number4
Volume24
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)469-483
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date15/05/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract


Purpose
This paper aims to encourage the study of blockchain technology from an operations and supply chain management (OSCM) perspective, identifying potential areas of application, and to provide an agenda for future research.

Design/methodology/approach
An explanation and analysis of blockchain technology is provided to identify implications for the field of OSCM.

Findings
The hype around the opportunities that digital ledger technologies offer is high. For OSCM, a myriad of ways in which blockchain could transform practice are identified, including enhancing product safety and security; improving quality management; reducing illegal counterfeiting; improving sustainable supply chain management; advancing inventory management and replenishment; reducing the need for intermediaries; impacting new product design and development; and reducing the cost of supply chain transactions. The immature state of practice and research surrounding blockchain means there is an opportunity for OSCM researchers to study the technology in its early stages and shape its adoption.

Research limitations/implications
The paper provides a platform for new research that addresses gaps in knowledge and advances the field of OSCM. A research agenda is developed around six key themes.

Practical implications
There are many opportunities for organisations to obtain an advantage by making use of blockchain technology ahead of the competition, enabling them to enhance their market position. But it is important that managers examine the characteristics of their products, services and supply chains to determine whether they need or would benefit sufficiently from the adoption of blockchain. Moreover, it is important that organisations build human capital expertise that allows them to develop, implement and exploit applications of this technology to maximum reward.

Originality/value
This is one of the first papers in a leading international OSCM journal to analyse blockchain technology, thereby complementing a recent article on digital supply chains that omitted blockchain.

Bibliographic note

This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.