Blockchain in the supply chain

How to exploit the potential of blockchain technology

Your expert for questions

Stefan Schrauf
Partner at PwC Germany

Blockchain is here. What’s your next step?

Blockchain has the potential to be a game changer: This technology could fundamentally change many aspects of the business world, industry and society. Central to the success of this technology is the question of trust in the markets – an area that also plays a decisive role for PwC. We see it as our goal to build corporate trust and solve important problems. We will drive the transformation of your business by bringing together the three perspectives of business, experience and technology (BXT). This approach influences the way we consider the challenges that your company faces: We know your business, we are familiar with the area of user experience and we have expertise in emerging technologies. We deliver blockchain solutions that address your specific business requirements while simultaneously providing trust, transparency and security. We will help you to differentiate your company from the competition and lay the foundations for your future growth.

Blockchain changes the supply chain

Blockchain allows the exchange of information to be greatly simplified and allows processes to be designed more quickly and securely. The technology therefore offers enormous potential, particularly for the optimization of supply chains. Applications based on blockchain offer a radical new communication pathway within complex supply chains thereby improving trust, security and speed. There are numerous examples from a range of industries demonstrating blockchain’s potential for logistics. The best-known example is Track & Trace. This term refers to the traceability of products within a supply chain.

PwC has considerable experience in global projects where blockchain applications are used to optimize the supply chain. We depend on a broad ecosystem of partners but we also develop our own technical solutions and systems.

The advantages of blockchain for the supply chain

  • Transparency in relation to the origin and provenance of goods
  • Reduction in costs and complexity
  • Security and stability
  • Reduction in cases of fraud
  • Error-free processes
  • Trust
  • Automation of processes
  • Rapid flow of goods

These are the most important blockchain applications for the supply chain

Track & Trace (traceability)

Blockchain supports smooth, integrated and transparent communication within complex supply chains. This provides a significant increase in trust, security and speed.

  • Tracing of a product, container, etc. along supply chains with many stakeholders.
  • Traceability of transport processes.
  • Evidence for the provenance of a product, for example for bio foods, luxury goods or medicines.
  • Automation of business processes and transactions via smart contract, for instance during payment, invoicing, etc.

Identity management

Blockchain can be used to create a single source of information that many different stakeholders can access.

  • Platforms for digital identity that can be applied for suppliers, delivery agents and logistics service providers.
  • Platforms that store various types of certificates, licensing rights, contractual provisions, etc. for a large group of users.
  • Platforms that store data on property rights or similar information such as waybills.

Peer-to-peer platforms

The integrative functions of blockchain technology offer platforms through which various participants can directly exchange information, goods and services with one another.

  • Platform for logistics providers: Offers for free capacity with HGVs or ships.
  • Platform for the exchange of spare parts.
  • Purchasing platform: Direct purchase with various suppliers.
  • Financial platforms for direct exchange between various participants (peer-to-peer), for example for foreign trade financing.

Our modular traceability solution based on private blockchain

PwC offers a modular solution for tracking (“track and trace”). This platform, which was developed in-house, supports the integration of third parties and makes it easier to retrace the provenance of products and documents. This modular PwC solution can be used for various different industries and situations.

How can your business benefit from the solution? Here you can order a demo version of the application.

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Facts and figures


of companies worldwide are already dealing with blockchain.


consider regulatory uncertainty to be one of the greatest hurdles.

For 45%

lack of trust by users is one of the key challenges.


expect China to be a blockchain leader in the future.

How blockchain will transform the supply chain of tomorrow

Supply chains are increasingly transforming into automated ecosystems. What role does blockchain play in this? This is precisely the question we address in our white paper “Blockchain: The game changer for supply chains” using specific use cases. We also explain how to implement a blockchain-specific project approach from idea to implementation and outline the emerging trends in the use of the technology.

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Four strategies for the success of a blockchain

How can a business model be developed where companies in an industry agree on common standards and work together? The answer to this question is: Trust. When it comes to blockchain, companies should concentrate on four core elements:

1. Define the business case: Evolution, not revolution.

A clear strategy and a common goal are required on which to build the blockchain initiative. Your company and other market players can work towards this.

2. Build an ecosystem: Together with the competition?

For blockchain it may be necessary for competitors to collaborate in new ways. Often it’s about solving problems that are faced by the entire industry.

3. Design with care: Define the rules of the collaboration

Each blockchain project requires rules and standards. In particular, this relates to the question: What can the various participants access and how can they participate?

4. Observe regulations closely, but don’t wait for them

Companies must remain agile to adhere to regulatory requirements that will not be established for a number of years.

“The greatest benefit of blockchain for the supply chain is that even small interest groups have the opportunity to securely exchange information. Each entry and each change is visible for all participants and remains so. This provides for a high degree of transparency and trust. The revolution has begun. Getting into blockchain is a smart move.”

Stefan Schrauf,Partner at PwC Germany

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Husen Kapasi

Husen Kapasi

PwC Europe Blockchain Lead, PwC Germany

Stefan Schrauf

Stefan Schrauf

Partner, PwC Germany

Judith Schneider

Judith Schneider

Director, PwC Germany

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