Challenges for blockchain in Dutch supply chain

19 September 2019 - A recent survey by international consulting firm Avanade shows that in the United States and Germany, approximately half of the managers and IT decision-makers surveyed said they intended to integrate blockchain into their business operations. A blockchain is a system that can be used to record data. But what about Blockchain in the Netherlands?

Blockchain integration in business operations

In the Netherlands, the percentage of blockchain integration in business operations is only 5%. And it is not just blockchain; for the time being, entrepreneurs in the Netherlands are not yet warming up to other technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Quantum Computing. This hardly surprises Aljosja Beije, co-founder of Blocklab, a Blockchain and AI start-up. While Blocklab cooperates internationally with impressive companies such as Samsung and Standard & Poor, in the Netherlands it often remains a matter of exploratory talks. Although there are exceptions, such as the Rotterdam Port Authority and ABN AMRO, this is a worrying development. The gap with countries that do invest in new technologies, such as China, India and the US, is widening by the day.

There are several reasons for this, which also influence each other. Complex problems such as these rarely have a single cause, so there is no comprehensive solution. In addition, causes vary from sector to sector. One of the causes in the transport sector is that innovation is often vested in a department at headquarters abroad. In addition, the available innovation budgets are often very limited due to low margins. For this reason, in September Blocklab, together with TU Delft, TNO and Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, will embark on a programme aimed at realising practical blockchain applications for SMEs within the supply chain.

Supply and demand

Another cause that is often underexposed is that there is a ‘supply’ and a ‘demand’ side to innovation. Each self-respecting municipality now has its own ‘start-up hub’, ‘hackathons’ and ‘meet-ups’ are organised almost every week for every technology and every (technical) university has its own incubator programme. So plenty is happening on the supply side of innovation. This is in sharp contrast to the demand side. This is based on the assumption that the entrepreneur acts rationally and must be able to take the decision to innovate themselves. But many new technologies are not easy to fathom and the associated business case is often much more difficult to determine than for a lorry or distribution centre. That is why Blocklab does not focus just on technology, but also on business validation.

Innovation mainly means ‘sharing = multiplying’. If large corporate organisations are already seeking each other's cooperation, then why reinvent the wheel? Your biggest competitor, or most important client, a knowledge institution, bank or accountant, they are all potential innovation partners.

Want to know more?

Would you like to know more about integrating blockchain into your business operations and the practical applications for SMEs within the supply chain? If so, please contact Aljosja Beije van BlockLab by e-mail . He will be happy to help you.

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