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Potential application of Blockchains in Fashion/Apparel Supply Chains

Muggulla, Naga Chandrika (2022) Potential application of Blockchains in Fashion/Apparel Supply Chains. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Over the past ten years, researchers have looked into new ways to build trust in buyer-supplier relationships in supply chains. Several studies, such as (Saberi et al., 2019) (Bai & Sarkis, 2020; Klumpp & Loske, 2021; Stindt, 2017) have emphasized the need for industries to commit to Sustainability, Traceability, and transparency as their objectives. These objectives are frameworks by themselves and provide the ability for industries to demonstrate their commitment to being environmentally friendly. Transaction verifiability and traceability play a crucial part in building trust in today's globalized supply chains, where companies are spread out across the globe in a race to satisfy customers (Sahay, 2003; Shamah & Elsawaby, 2014). As a result of technological advancements, physical items can now be "tokenized" in the digital realm, allowing for a digital replication of the transactions that take place in the real world to be recorded in Blockchains implemented using Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) (Ballandies et al., 2021; Kakavand et al., n.d.) for greater transparency.

“Fast Fashion” (Escalona Orcao & Ramos-Pérez, 2015; Lönnfält & Sandqvist, n.d.; Rese et al., 2019; Turker & Altuntas, 2014) is a term iconized by reputed fashion brands such as H&M, ZARA in recent times. These brands have not only put to use some efficient supply chain processes such as Just In Time inventory management (Franco & Rubha, 2017) but also embraced Blockchain Technologies (BCTs) to achieve Traceability, Sustainability, and Transparency objectives. An example of Blockchain implementation widely used in the fashion industry by some major brands has partnered with Textile Genesis.

Apparel manufacturers in countries like India and Bangladesh, and some other countries are the backbone of all big fashion brands. However, not a lot of research could be found into the application of blockchain technologies to the supply chains of these apparel manufacturers.

This paper attempts to review the suitability of BCTs for the supply chains of apparel manufacturers. The author hypothesises that integrating Blockchain Technology with ERP
10 systems at the manufacturing units will bring a new era of decentralization, facilitating better organizational operations within a single ecosystem. The author opines that blockchains in the fashion apparel manufacturing industry will enhance the traceability of materials and goods supply throughout various manufacturing phases, from initial raw materials to finished product management. Additionally, the transparency achieved by the Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) is well researched. The author further hypotheses that BCTs can help manufacturers to achieve their sustainability targets.

The study is focused on the Indian context since the country is home to many large-scale apparel manufacturers. The author met with senior executives of some leading manufacturers and presented the case of BCTs to gather insights into sentiment for BCT adoption amongst apparel manufacturers.

The combination of an ERP system and Blockchain technology will be a potent instrument for enhancing supply chain operations, and yet, the evidence gathered from the interviews conducted with senior officials of some of the reputed apparel manufacturing companies does not present a strong case for the adoption of blockchain technologies largely due to the limited awareness of the use cases Blockchains technologies can solve for the apparel manufacturers.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Del Rosal, Victor
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sustainability; Traceability; Transparency; Supply Chain; Fast Fashion; Blockchain Technologies; Distributed Ledger Technologies
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > Electronic computers. Computer science
T Technology > T Technology (General) > Information Technology > Electronic computers. Computer science
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Specific Industries > Fashion Industry
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Business Logistics > Supply Chain Management
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Science in International Business
Depositing User: Tamara Malone
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2023 10:54
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2023 10:54

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