U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Home
  2. Blockchain Technologies In Supply Chain Management

Blockchain Technologies in Supply Chain Management

ALCL 171


Alternate Definition

A blockchain is a collaborative, tamper-resistant ledger that maintains transactional records. The transactional records (data) are grouped into blocks. A block is connected to the previous one by including a unique identifier that is based on the previous block’s data. As a result, if the data is changed in one block, it’s unique identifier changes, which can be seen in every subsequent block (providing tamper evidence). This domino effect allows all users within the blockchain to know if a previous block’s data has been tampered with. Since a blockchain network is difficult to alter or destroy, it provides a resilient method of collaborative record keeping.


Alternate Definition Source


General Information

In the pursuit of best managing a supply chain, a Program Manager, Product Support Manager, or product or process owner may investigate a number of solutions, including Blockchain. While Supply Chain Blockchain is not specifically listed in current Government instructions, DOD Manual 4140.01 Volume 7, DoD Supply Chain Materiel Management Procedures: Supporting Technologies, states under the requirement for modern technologies: “To ensure a high-performing and agile supply chain, DOD Components will incorporate advances in logistics technologies into DOD materiel management to handle materiel management information, automatically identify items in storage and in transit, and analyze process improvements.” Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an existing capability in use throughout DOD that facilitates automated visibility and assessment management. Given Blockchain's emphasis on security and automation, RFID would be an enabler in any DOD supply chain blockchain initiatives.

A blockchain is not simply a spreadsheet or “ledger” for tracking information, and differs in a variety of ways which will be discussed below. Blockchain technology has been used extensively across industry to manage supply chains. Blockchain technologies include: public, private, federated, and/or hybrid, and have a number of use cases across varying fields and organizations. Some of the key benefits of utilizing Blockchain technologies for supply support include:

  1. Transparency: the information is shared publicly and is easily accessible to anyone who is validated and has the appropriate permissions. Blockchain technology can ensure quality with authenticated user information. For any DOD application, the supply chain blockchain would most likely only be accessible by validated supply chain partners.
  2. Control: pre-determined algorithms guide the operation of the Blockchain, removing subjectivity and allowing specific prescribed operations and accesses.
  3. Security: Blockchain provides a variety of measures which ensure security, including a two-way secure, encrypted validation of sender and receiver, much like a “key,” ensuring the identity of each participant. By using this technology, the user can be sure of the origination and validity of each artifact. Additionally, information cannot be edited once entered: It is a permanent record and account, which can be beneficial in the case of audit accountability, and asset visibility across the services. Blockchain is the secure technology behind a number of cryptocurrencies.
  4. Automation: reduces sometimes bureaucratic approval processes, eliminates human error or other erroneous data, and ensures quick, accurate, predictable, and repeatable processing.
  5. Accuracy: with automation, real-time status accounting, and full visibility, data accuracy drastically improves over more manual accounting solutions. A Blockchain supply chain solution will limit disputes and inquiries, and help with audit accountability, saving time and money.

Blockchain can be used in a variety of supply-related areas, including manufacturing, end user items, and parts availability:

  • Manufacturing: minimize the complexities of distributed and complex parts and suppliers
  • End User Items: improve the overall logistics footprint by complete asset visibility prior to install or arrival
  • Parts Availability: in “retail” situations, providing the users with quantity, location, pricing, and other verified real time information