NFTs are capable of being the digital infrastructure needed to track supply chains across manufacturing, shipping, distribution and retail.

By Eduardo Mylonas da Silva – Product Design Manager at Agency Enterprise

The global supply chain crisis is being felt by everyone around the world. Between COVID lockdowns in China, food shortages due to the conflict in Ukraine and the myriad of other ripple effects throughout the global economy, people are finding empty shelves when they go to buy essential products. As a software developer, I’m always wondering – can technology solve or prevent this from happening? The answer is yes!

NFTs are proving to be more than just expensive jpegs. These tokens are capable of acting as the digital infrastructure needed to track supply chains across manufacturers, shippers, distributors and retailers. By creating greater visibility into inventories, demand and supply efficiencies can be created so that manufacturers can get ahead of demand before a shortage occurs. Being able to monitor global supply and demand across any product would allow manufacturers to more effectively create and source additional supply earlier in the cycle so that future shortages would be short-lived (if noticeable at all).

I’ve spent my career building ways for companies to organize information in ways that make data insights possible and I’m proud to say NFTs have presented the next frontier in building the digital infrastructure required to implement a whole new level of transparency at scale. Instead of multiple, siloed spreadsheets, the global economy can (and will) operate on a shared, secure infrastructure that will provide the foundation for massively impactful solutions to the current friction points in the industry.

Let’s take baby formula as an example. If a plant in the U.S. shuts down, that future lack of supply could be flagged early on and a notice could be sent out to any manufacturer capable of filling this supply gap with enough notice to source the materials and create new supply before the shortage occurs. If every product, from baby formula to sportcars, had an NFT minted ahead of or upon its creation then visibility into its supply could be monitored, tracked and analyzed so that future shortages could be flagged early on and prediction of future demand could be made clear. By building this software into products, companies could actively reposition their factories to supplement various supply/demand gaps before they occur. This works all the day down to the materials level, so that if one ingredient in the formula is going to come offline or even show signs of diminishing, real economic incentives could be aligned so that organizations capable of sourcing these materials could be provided with enough forewarning (and clear economic benefit) that they would be incentivized to shift operations in time to fill the shortage.

NFTs are well on their way to opening up this vision and many companies are already integrating this technology to track inventory and provide greater insight into manufacturers and their suppliers so that shortages can be predicted earlier and resourced in advance. Instead of suffering from volatile supply/demand waves, suppliers and manufacturers can use granular insight into their supply chains to flatten these curves and keep merchandise on the shelves.

This represents a significant compression on these cycles and opens up a new frontier for anyone producing goods and supplying materials to factories. This efficiency can unlock a new wave of economic benefits for people across the world and it’s just getting started!

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