Blockchains, the New Fashion in Supply Chains? - The compatibility of blockchain configurations in supply chain management in the fast fashion industry
Sammanfattning: Background and Purpose: Blockchain Technology has recently, with its disruptive force and revolutionising ways of improving security and data sharing, gotten a lot of attention in both academics and business. Blockchains can be separated into several configurations of blockchains, which all have different benefits and drawbacks. There is, however, a lack of consensus about these different configurations and the existing literature does not provide any comprehensive compilation. Moreover, blockchains are said to have an especially benefiting value in supply chain management. Despite this, the diffusion of the technology and use cases in the fast fashion industry, which is highly reliant on an efficient supply chain, are still near to non-existent. One of the most important factors affecting the diffusion of new technologies has been said to be compatibility. Hence, this study aims to investigate how compatible the different configurations of blockchains are in the supply chain management in the fast fashion industry. Methodology: The research builds on an extensive literature review of blockchain technology and its different configurations, resulting in a compilation of the characteristics distinguishing the configurations. The literature is then extended and built upon by conducting qualitative semi-structured interviews with blockchain experts about the different configurations. In addition to this, fast fashion companies are interviewed, also by semi-structured interviews, about their perception based on each of the characteristics identified in the literature review. Findings and Conclusions: One of the main findings is that the different configurations of blockchains can be distinguished by four clusters of characteristics and that there are tradeoffs evident between them that affect the compatibility of the different configurations. Based on this, a model has been constructed that was used to assess the compatibility of the blockchains configurations in supply chain management in the fast fashion industry. This resulted in the second main finding of the study, which is that even though it has been discussed that there is a lot of benefits achievable by blockchains, the result indicates that no configuration is fully compatible in this aspect studied. However, each configuration can be compatible to a certain extent and can consequently provide value in different settings. It is also identified that a consortium blockchain is adaptable and has the potential to overcome some of the trade-offs. Furthermore, the study provides four recommendations regarding the adoption of the different configurations of blockchains in supply chain management in the fast fashion industry.
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