The minds behind the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) announced a new endeavor focused on supply chain participants on Monday during the opening session of the Blockchain in Transport Spring Symposium, being held at the Georgia International Conference Center in Atlanta.
The new Blockchain in Supply Chain Alliance (BiSCA) is designed to meet the needs of supply chain participants, focusing on many of the same goals as BiTA. Like BiTA, BiSCA will feature a community side and a standards organization, explained Brian Reed, managing director of BiSCA and EVP of supply chain and global strategy for FreightWaves.
“The idea is to get as close to a single source of truth on standards” as we can, he told the 350-plus Symposium attendees. BiSCA will also feature technical committees and working groups that develop outcomes and investigate blockchain solutions geared to those who purchase freight solutions.
Reed explained that BiSCA, which will be governed by a Board of Directors that is currently being developed, sees the supply chain as focusing on four key pillars:
BiSCA and BiTA will have some overlap, Reed said, and some companies may choose to be involved in both Alliances. BiTA will remain focused on transportation solutions while BiSCA will encompass the remaining three pillars – procurement, planning and warehousing.
Reed added that use cases within the BiSCA realm could include smart contracts, purchase history, manufacturing visibility, raw goods/finished goods traceability, data sharing (EDI, VMI), document sharing (Customs, Pos), and supply chain finance.
The BiSCA board will include 13 members – 9 permanent members and 4 rotating seats in 2- or 3-year terms, likely, Reed said. The group is attempting to create as diverse a board as possible with members coming from all modes of transportation and from across the globe. These may include members from shippers, service providers, technology and academia as well as high tech, CPG, retail and resource industries. It won’t be limited to these, though, he noted.
“We are seeking global participation,” Reed said. “We’re going to do our best to get as much representation across (our industries) as we can.”
Reed also announced the first two members of BiSCA – the University of Denver and the U.S. Air Force. “It’s a good launch and I think it’s going to be very complementary to BiTA,” he said.
Reed took several questions from the audience, including what would fall under BiTA and what under BiSCA. In general, he answered, “if the core of collaboration or development of standards is transportation, it would fall under BiTA.”
There will be some overlap, Reed said, using cobalt as an example. Cobalt is mined and then transferred through several parties throughout its supply chain life, eventually becoming an entirely different product that is part of electric cars among other uses. Individual member companies along cobalt’s journey may fall under either BiTA or BiSCA, but the entire process would be under BiSCA’s purview, as it’s about the overall visibility and transparency of the entire journey.
With that, Reed noted that some companies may want to participate in both BiTA and BiSCA. “We’d encourage people to be part of both,” he said, adding that “we believe valuable information can come from both sides.”
Like BiTA, which announced earlier this year it would provide open standards, BiSCA standards will also be open sourced.
In response to a question on why there is a need for a separate Alliance for supply chain professionals, Reed said it was “mainly due to score and structural organization.”
Craig Fuller, managing director of BiTA and CEO of FreightWaves, further explained the reasoning behind BiSCA. In surveying BiTA members, Fuller said, there are only about 20 members who identified themselves as shippers (not including 3PLs and 4PLs). “The feedback we got was this is an organization (BiTA) that is run by transportation [groups] and they didn’t know if this would address the issues of the [shippers].”
BiSCA has been set up to give those in the supply chain the chance to have an equal voice in the development of blockchain standards, and to do so alongside BiTA.
BiTA and BiSCA will host a joint Fall Symposium on Nov. 12, 2018, in Dallas. On Nov. 13-14, also in Dallas, FreightWaves will present MarketWaves18. The BiSCA website is available at bisca.studio. To learn more about BiSCA, Brian Reed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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