Transforming UAE’s Supply Chains for Sustainability and Transparency!
The UAE, like many other geographies, faces challenges in ensuring traceability and accountability in supply chains. Complex global networks, limited visibility, and reliance on manual processes hinder accurate data capture and verification. Recently though, the focus on sustainable practices and transparency in supply chains has gained significant momentum. Consumers and businesses in the UAE are increasingly conscious and concerned of the origin and environmental impact of products. To address these concerns and foster a greener economy, the UAE is increasingly focusing on blockchain as a technology to revolutionize traceability and accountability in its supply chains. Blockchain has the potential to play a pivotal role in driving sustainability and enhancing trust in the UAE’s supply chain ecosystem.
The energy sector stands is a prime example of an industry where blockchain can exert significant influence. With the potential for energy plants to cause irreparable harm, this highly regulated sector operates under intricate global and regional procedures, all while striving for sustainability. Global blockchain in energy market is projected to reach $1,564M by 2026 with a CAGR of 37.6%, as per Fortune Business Insights. The growing adoption of blockchain technology in the energy sector addresses regulatory compliance, sustainability, and process efficiency. This market growth signifies the transformative potential of blockchain in revolutionizing the energy industry for a sustainable future. By integrating blockchain technology, the energy sector effectively addresses these challenges, accelerating industry processes while ensuring compliance and environmental responsibility.
These changes are not just visible and confined to an industry. The UAE has witnessed remarkable implementations of blockchain-enabled traceability. For example, the Dubai Blockchain Food Safety Project leverages blockchain to enhance food safety by ensuring end-to-end traceability of food products. Similarly, the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) collaborates with blockchain companies to authenticate halal products, fostering transparency and meeting Islamic dietary requirements.
Benefits of Blockchain-Enabled Traceability
The application of blockchain in supply chain management offers numerous advantages, including increased transparency, improved efficiency, enhanced traceability, and strengthened customer relationships. It also contributes to a better brand image and higher return on investment for businesses.
- Real-time tracking: Blockchain enables transparency and decentralization, allowing real-time tracking of activities in the supply chain, leading to increased transparency in industries like manufacturing and fashion.
- Faster processing: By replacing intermediaries and eliminating paper-based processes with smart contracts, blockchain reduces operational time and improves efficiency, especially in lower supply tiers and the shipping industry.
- Strengthening traceability: Blockchain technology enhances traceability in the supply chain, addressing demands and regulations for provenance information. It mitigates quality-related issues, such as reputational damage, recalls, and revenue loss due to counterfeit or unauthorized products.
- Healthy customer relationships: Blockchain empowers consumers to access detailed product information and track orders transparently, fostering trust and improving customer experience.
- Higher ROI: Blockchain helps businesses build a strong brand image in the decentralized market, leading to increased return on investment.
- Effective tradeability: Blockchain facilitates efficient licensing and ownership by utilizing smart contracts and maintaining consensus, ensuring accurate tracking of ownership records.
Overcoming Challenges and Adoption Considerations
While blockchain offers immense potential, challenges such as scalability and interoperability need to be addressed for widespread adoption in the UAE. Collaborative efforts among industry stakeholders, government support, and the development of regulatory frameworks are pivotal in overcoming these obstacles. The UAE Government issued Cabinet Resolution No.111 of 2022, which became effective on January 14, 2023. This resolution aims to regulate virtual asset-related activities by providing guidelines for entities engaged in such activities. The purpose is to ensure that these entities obtain the necessary licensing and approvals from Financial Regulators or their delegates. The UAE government has been pushing the envelope on blockchain and digital assests from last decade. The Emirates Blockchain Strategy was introduced by the UAE government in April 2018. Its objective is to leverage blockchain technology in order to migrate 50% of government transactions onto the blockchain platform by 2021. The strategy encompasses various initiatives that target improved efficiency, cost reduction, and enhanced customer experience.
The future of sustainable supply chains in the UAE is intertwined with blockchain technology. As the UAE continues to prioritize environmental sustainability, blockchain’s integration with emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) will further enhance supply chain transparency and efficiency. For technologies to cross hands data will have to play a crucial role since AI relies heavily on data, hence data sanity will be of utmost importance. Moglix has been working with organisations in the UAE to sort their data challenges and transform their procurement value chain at a rapid yet sustainable pace
Embracing blockchain enables the UAE to solidify its position as a global leader in sustainable practices and reinforces its commitment to a greener future. The UAE’s commitment to revolutionizing supply chain traceability and accountability through blockchain technology demonstrates its dedication to sustainability and transparency. By leveraging blockchain, the UAE is building a robust and trustworthy supply chain ecosystem that aligns with consumer expectations, protects the environment, and drives the nation’s sustainable development goals.
Challenges faced by e-commerce
E-commerce is growing at an unprecedented pace in the UAE, as more consumers are turning to online shopping due to its convenience, speed, and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent report by Dubai Economy, the e-commerce market in the UAE grew by 47 per cent in 2020, with online sales reaching AED 24.8 billion ($6.8 billion). Furthermore, the same report predicts that the UAE’s e-commerce market reached AED 100 billion ($27 billion) by 2022, representing a remarkable growth opportunity for businesses operating in the supply chain and procurement sectors. However, with the rapid expansion of e-commerce comes a number of challenges that businesses must overcome to capitalise on this growth trend.
Meeting customer expectations
The rise of e-commerce has changed customer expectations, with many consumers now expecting faster delivery times and more flexible shipping options. For businesses in the UAE’s supply chain and procurement industries, this means adapting to new delivery models and investing in technologies like real-time tracking and automated warehousing.
In the UAE, successful inventory management is essential for e-commerce companies. Businesses must make sure they have adequate inventory on hand to meet demand without overstocking, given the rapid growth of internet sales. Understanding procurement holistically and choosing partners who can provide Procurement as a Service is one way firms can better predict customer demand and adjust their inventory levels. Moglix is one such partner that E commerce firms can depend on as it integrates software-as-a-service with on-ground supply chain operations. Its e-catalog based buying model allows an e-commerce like buying experience. Its evolving warehouse network in the UAE allows it to manage inventory and eventual last mile delivery with precision, allowing firms to optimize their inventory cost.
Fulfillment and Shipping
Fulfillment and shipping are key components of the e-commerce supply chain, but they can also be complex and time-consuming. To optimise these processes, businesses in the UAE should consider partnering with reliable shipping and logistics providers, as well as investing in technologies like automated order processing and real-time tracking. A recent survey conducted by PwC Middle East found that 75% of UAE consumers expect their online purchases to be delivered within three days, while 28% expect delivery within 24 hours.
Returns are an inevitable part of e-commerce, but they can also be costly and time-consuming to manage. To address this challenge, businesses in the UAE should invest in an efficient returns management system that can help them quickly process and resell returned items. According to a survey by Dubai Economy and Visa, 31% of UAE consumers cited the ability to return items as an important factor in their online shopping experience.
The UAE has strict regulations around e-commerce, including rules around online payments, consumer data privacy, and product labelling. To ensure they stay compliant, businesses in the UAE’s supply chain and procurement industries should work closely with legal and regulatory experts, as well as invest in technologies like secure payment gateways and data encryption.
Although there are difficulties, e-commerce is revolutionizing the supply chain and procurement sectors in the UAE. Businesses in the UAE need to be proactive in solving these issues if they want to flourish in the e-commerce landscape, from managing returns to meeting client expectations. Businesses can optimise their e-commerce supply chains and procurement processes and remain ahead of the curve.