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Blockchain Applications To Increase Efficiency And Transparency In The Global Mobility Supply Chain

Ford, DENSO, and AWS are among many mobility and technology leaders collaborating with MOBI to roll out industry-wide blockchain-based standards to ensure sustainable sourcing and help track vehicle parts — such as EV batteries — throughout production, use, maintenance, and end of life

Mobility revolutions, like the recent shift toward electric vehicles (EVs), require a fast, safe, and secure supply chain. Emerging digital technologies present us with exciting opportunities to improve the manufacturing process and move parts around the world efficiently and transparently — ultimately resulting in cheaper vehicle ownership. Today, MOBI’s member-led Supply Chain (SC) Working Group releases blockchain-based standards to facilitate this important step forward for the mobility industry.

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“Consumers increasingly demand sustainable mobility, such as electric vehicles, and advanced technology, like connected telematics, autonomous driving, and advanced safety features,” said Tram Vo, Co-director and Founder of MOBI. “The standards released by the SC Working Group provide vehicle OEMs and other ecosystem stakeholders with the framework to create a comprehensive, industry-wide, secure data management system that can be used for greater visibility into their global supply chain and facilitate seamless communication to manage production, maintenance, safety, and meet consumer and regulatory demands.”

The vehicle supply chain consists of multiple levels of stakeholders, including manufacturers, tiered parts suppliers, distributors, repair shops, and logistics providers. Such a complex global system can lead to fragmentation and cause challenges for manufacturers, including a heightened risk for disruptions such as the recent global shortage of semiconductors. The clear potential for a blockchain-based solution inspired MOBI to create its Supply Chain (SC) Working Group with the goal of enabling secure data exchange and enhancing parts tracking and traceability from raw material through production, use, and end of life.

“Leveraging emerging technologies such as blockchain will potentially make our supply chains much more transparent, efficient and resilient — including helping manage major disruptions such as a tsunami, fire at supplier site, a global pandemic,” said Cynthia Flanigan, Director, Vehicle Research and Technology, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “We also think this technology could augment Ford’s efforts in being a trusted partner to our supply chain.”

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The SC Working Group is chaired by Ford, with support from Accenture, AWS, Arxum, Autodata, CEVT, DENSO, DLT Labs, Fifth-9, Honda, IBM, IOTA Foundation, ITOCHU, Marelli, NAIST, Politecnico de Torino, Quantstamp, R3, Reply, SyncFab, and Thirdware.

In pursuit of its goal, the working group thoroughly examined the vehicle parts traceability problem and identified several areas of process inefficiencies and communication barriers, grouped into seven distinct use cases:

  • Business process management
  • Manufacturing
  • Parts traceability and recall management
  • Consumption
  • Ethical sourcing and sustainability
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Finance and payments

“Every automotive customer is unique in its supply chain challenges and goals. Through our involvement in the MOBI SC Working Group, alongside many of the industry’s most influential enterprises, we’re able to understand their needs and contribute to solutions,” said Bill Foy, Director of Automotive, AWS. “With AWS and our Amazon Managed Blockchain (AMB) service, we look forward to helping our customers deliver innovative supply chain solutions. This service, together with the MOBI Reference Implementation Architecture, enables more efficient automotive supply chains for OEMs, suppliers, logistics service providers, and third parties.”

By using blockchain as a trust anchor, SC Standards allow stakeholders to share data and participate in multi-party use cases while maintaining privacy and confidentiality in peer-to-peer communications. The standards also include the creation of decentralized parts identifiers to facilitate two-way traceability along the supply chain and open new opportunities for the rapidly growing EV battery market. MOBI and its members expect that improvements enabled by the SC Standards, together with other MOBI standards for blockchain applications in mobility, will ultimately promote data privacy.

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