Enhancing vendor managed inventory supply chain operations using blockchain smart contracts

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46 Scopus citations


Supply chain networks have grown in complexity and size due to increased globalization leading to a variety of challenges and opportunities for improvement. Optimizing inventory levels and adjusting replenishment policies have significant effects on the operational performance and profitability of supply chains. Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) is a mutually beneficial arrangement between supplier and buyer, where the supplier is responsible for making inventory and replenishment decisions based on buyers' inventory status. Potential benefits of VMI include reducing inventories, enabling information sharing, eliminating safety stock, and reducing purchasing related costs across the supply chain. In today's supply chains, VMI operations face critical challenges related to data integrity, transparency, traceability, and single point of failure due to its centralized architecture. Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger that ensures a transparent, safe, and secure exchange of data among supply chain stakeholders. The advantages of adopting blockchain technology for VMI operations in a supply chain include decentralized control, security, traceability, and auditable time-stamped transactions. In this paper, we present a blockchain-based approach using smart contracts to transform VMI supply chain operations. We propose a generic framework using Ethereum smart contracts and decentralized storage systems to automate the processes and information exchange and detailed algorithms that capture the interactions among supply chain stakeholders. The smart contract code was developed and tested in Remix environment. We present cost and security analysis incurred by the stakeholders in the supply chain. Adopting a blockchain-based solution to VMI operations in supply chains is economically viable and provides a streamlined, secure, trusted, and transparent mode of communication among various stakeholders.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)182704-182719
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2020


  • Blockchain applications
  • Data integrity
  • Ethereum
  • Security
  • Smart contracts
  • Supply chain management


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