Jesús Morcillo Bellido1, Lucía Romero Fernández-Cuartero2 and Jesús Morcillo García3

1 Área de Ingeniería de Organización. Escuela Politécnica Superior. Universidad Carlos III. Avenida de la Universidad, 30. Leganés, Madrid 28911, Spain.

2 Máster Universitario en Ingeniería Industrial. ETSII. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Calle de José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain.

3 Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales. Departamento de Organización de Empresas. Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED). Senda del Rey, 11, 28040 (Madrid), Spain.,,

Keywords: Blockchain, supply chain management, supply chain traceability

1. Introduction

The name “blockchain” references the way the information is stored in the network, as a chain of blocks. A block is a data structure composed by a list of transactions that have been created by “peers” of the blockchain network, modifying the state of the blockchain [1]. Once the validation process is performed, the validated data is grouped into blocks whose concatenation will form the chain. Processes such as those that make up supply chains, are relevant application areas for blockchain. In a supply chain, it is important to have a true and secure information record, which allows efficient coordination between the different companies. A blockchain network is, in its most basic concept, a distributed record of information characterized by the transparency, security and immutability of the stored data [2,3]. It is a key objective of this study to identify the impact of blockchain in the supply chains of some companies.

2. Objectives and methodology

It is the priority objective of this study to deepen the knowledge about the application of blockchain in the industry, for which the cases of several companies will be studied, trying to identify if these companies are applying blockchain mechanisms in their supply chains.

This document is the result of an inductive study of the cases of a sample of companies. The collection of information was carried out through a search of the information published by these companies. Regarding the cases, care has been taken to maintain the consistency of the data used. An attempt has been made to maintain coherence between the data by comparing and avoiding distortion and bias in case management [4].

3. Case Studies

Case 1: Walmart

Walmart launched two blockchain pilot tests, for pork fillets from China, and mangoes from South America. They recorded all the information on the platform, from raw materials origin to the final product in the market, linking each of the elements with a QR code.

Case 2: Maersk

To achieve a secure storage of all this information, Maersk created together with IBM a hybrid blockchain platform known as Tradelens, with the aim of reducing and eliminating possible fraud and errors in the process (that lead to delays in deliveries), minimize transportation time, improve inventory management and reduce costs.

Case 3: Pfizer, AbbVie and Genentech

Pharmaceutical industry supply chain is complex because of all the actors that take part in it, from the raw materials producer to the end consumer. Traceability of products is a key factor in this industry because of the health-related risks that are involved. And still it is one of the main handicaps of this industry, being especially relevant in the case of the withdrawal of a certain batch of a product.

4. Conclusions

In all the cases studied there is a common requirement, and this is the need to organize collaborated networks in order to implement blockchain standards. It is mandatory to think about blockchain with a full integrated vision of the supply chain.


  1. Wüst, K., Gervais, A.: Do you need a blockchain? In 2018 Crypto Valley Conference on Blockchain Technology (CVCBT) IEEE, pp. 45-54 (2018)
  2. Abeyratne, S., Monfared, R.: Blockchain ready manufacturing supply chain using distributed ledger. International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology05(09), pp. 1-10 (2016)
  3. Kshetri, N.: 1 Blockchain’s roles in meeting key supply chain management objectives. International Journal of Information Management39, pp. 80-89 (2018)
  4. Eppler, M. J.: Managing information quality: Increasing the value of information in knowledge-intensive products and processes. Springer Science & Business Media (2006)


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Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Industrial Management and XXV Congreso de Ingeniería de Organización Copyright © by (Eds.) José Manuel Galán; Silvia Díaz-de la Fuente; Carlos Alonso de Armiño Pérez; Roberto Alcalde Delgado; Juan José Lavios Villahoz; Álvaro Herrero Cosío; Miguel Ángel Manzanedo del Campo; and Ricardo del Olmo Martínez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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