Basic provenance concepts

Provenance - a fundamental concept necessary for understanding Transparent Supply data input and output.

Dictionary definition

prov·​e·​nance | \ ˈpräv-nən(t)s , ˈprä-və-ˌnän(t)s \

  2. the history of ownership of a valued object or work of art or literature

What is Provenance in Transparent Supply?

With respect to the world of supply chain, provenance is the validated history of ownership, custody and origin of a specific product instance such as a lot, a batch, or a serial number. It also applies to a pallet which may contain more than one product as well.

In the heart of Transparent Supply is a provenance engine. It processes supply chain data input, analyzes the data, and constructs the supply chain traceability paths.

The following sequence illustrates the steps:

  • When company X submits data to Transparent Supply that it sends 50 lbs of broccoli - lot 111 - from farm ABC to a packing house XYZ. Transparent Supply stores it on Blockchain.
  • When a company Y submits data that it receives 50 lbs of broccoli from company X, sent from farm ABC, at its packing house XYZ, Transparent Supply stores the data on Blockchain.
  • In addition, since Transparent Supply finds the matching product and lot, and sending and receiving destinations, it establishes the connection between the 2 activities.
  • These activities are usually called events. More explanation can be found in the Key supply chain concept section.

Note that the provenance engine does not operate based on any pre-defined process definition. It connects information as it ingests the input data. Using this approach, the provenance engine forms traceable information of any products regardless of variations in the supply chain, such as seasonal vendors, varying regional processes, etc. This approach allows the solution to be scalable and unimpeded by process variations and changes.

What does Transparent Supply do?

Transparent Supply relies on all supply chain partners to submit data that not only is valid structurally, but also connects correctly with data from their transacting supply chain partners. It is this handshaking data constructs that form traceability of products in Transparent Supply.

In summary, Transparent Supply:

  1. Provides API for supply chain partners who touch a product instance to submit information of what happens to the product, where, and when.
  2. Stores a large volume of data that record the actions and movements of all product lots, serial numbers, batches, pallets, etc.
  3. Links submitted, disconnected product events from various supply chain partners chronologically to construct the provenance of all product instances.
  4. Hosts an environment that manages a large number of supply chain partners who want to both share and protect their data.
  5. Uses Blockchain as a trusted means to authenticate data sources.
  6. Provides user interfaces to trace products from farms to stores.
  7. Supports creation of some data elements with a web-interface or using a spreadsheet.