In my previous blogs, I have written about the lack of transparency, visibility, and traceability in the automotive finished vehicle industry and other industries. After that, I wrote about ‘digitization’ and ‘digitalization’ and the desperate need for interoperability in the industry. In this blog, I write about the important question: Do you want to own and control your data in Supply Chain and logistics?

In today’s world that seems to lurch between one crises and another, and suffers from endless ensuing disruptions, we see a growing interest and requirement for collaboration between trading parties operating in an end-to-end supply chain or ecosystem, with the key reason being to drive a more efficient supply chain for all parties involved. Fundamental in such collaboration is the sharing of information and data between these trading parties.

Most of these trading parties see the importance and are willing to do so, but at the same time, they are extremely sceptical and careful. Trading parties, especially OEMs and LSPs, don’t want information and data to be freely available, because of their confidential nature, competition, and compliance, amongst other reasons.

In addition, there is the experience of OEMs and LSPs that have been using TMS providers and visibility platforms, realizing that these solutions have been collecting information and data without their explicit approval. Such information and data – neutralized or not – have been used for other purposes or even sold to other parties, rather than being used for the companies that are the explicit owners of such data and information. In several cases this has even resulted in legal action, to prevent such information or data sharing, or to force these TMS providers and visibility platforms to delete the information and data.

In Europe, there are laws and legislation for collecting and sharing private information and data already (GPDR), while there are new laws and legislation in development for industry information and data too. The U.S. is also considering similar steps.

While laws and legislation will help to control and prevent, it will not be guaranteed that parties will won’t violate these rules or find ways to skirt them. In addition, there is the ongoing risk of criminal action, like hacking and malware, to steal (confidential) information and data.

Cybersecurity solutions have been a growing business as a result, but most of these solutions will only secure individual trading parties, not the entire supply chain or ecosystem. There have been many examples where individual systems of terminals, Logistics Service Providers (LSPs), or even the systems of OEMs themselves were affected causing massive operational issues as crucial systems went down. In some cases, this has cost millions of dollars/euros and major customer impact.

So back to the question: “Do you want to own and control your data in Supply Chain & Logistics?” While the answer is obvious, think about this question in the context of collaboration in an end-to-end supply chain or ecosystem and the answer to this becomes even more obvious. But what if a TMS, a Visibility Platform, and individual cyber security are not the proper technical solutions, as shown above?

In the last blog of this series, I will reflect on previous blogs and will explain the answer to this question.

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