“People are the center of the 4th Industrial Revolution – not technology”

What role does the human being play in blockchain-based business processes? Around 100 trade visitors discussed the answer at Elemica’s 1st Disruptive Supply Chain Innovations Conference in the Hotel Schloss Montabaur. In best-practice examples and initial blockchain pilot projects, high-caliber industry experts demonstrated what the technology is capable of.

Henrik von Scheel, keynote speaker and initiator of the Industry 4.0 idea, made at the beginning of the conference clear that the Industrial Revolution is fundamentally changing the way we live, work, trade and invest. Van Scheel sketches the human being as the center of development. Ultimately, it is the people who decide how the technology is used and sell the products and services to other people.



Rich Katz, President Elemica, pointed out that the trend towards digital transformation is driven primarily by two aspects. These include increased customer demands, for example with regard to the traceability of goods and next-day delivery. The second aspect is the technical possibilities that Machine Learning, Blockchain and the Internet of Things open up. Data plays an increasingly important role in this dynamic environment. Cindi Hane, Vice President Product Management at Elemica, also explained how small suppliers can be connected to such a network with little effort. With QuickLink Email, Elemica offers a solution that covers 100 percent of all supply chain actions.

Blockchain projects and their potential

Ralf Kahre (BASF) and Heinz-Günther Lux (Evonik) explained the challenges that have to be solved in the interoperability of two networks. Among other things, different industry standards must be taken into account. In order to ensure data transmission from one network to another and to enable partners to use their own network, in many cases a mediator is required to translate into the respective network language.

Marcel Kuhs (AZHOS) gave an insight into supply chain management for the chemical industry. Using the practical example of Orbit Logistics, he showed how sensors in silos automate inventory and accounting. The sensors can be used to digitally verify the quality and quantity of the goods in real time. The digital proof enables the automated initiation of payments, thus reducing invoicing costs.

The result of a current project was presented by Martin Quensel (Centrifuge). The technology is already available, and it is now up to humans to use it. With the help of a blockchain network, data transmission is many times more secure than before thanks to the doubtless identification of the partners. Smart Contracts and digital regulations ensure the correct process flows.

Transparency simplifies business processes

High data quality also leads to success in delivery processes to the end customer: Jesper Bennike (project 44) explained how carriers fit into a transparent supply chain. As a partner of Elemica, project 44 picks up information from the Elemica network and makes it visible. The aim is a one-to-many relationship, which is taken over by the end customer, who ultimately only accesses one provider and thus has an overview of a large number of carriers and current orders.

For a risk assessment, it is also important to work with the right information. Tobias Larsson (DHL Resilience 360) concluded with a practical presentation that it is crucial to get certain information at the right time. Just-in-time decisions can only be made on the basis of real-time data.