Standards organization ASTM International has created a new technical committee on digital information in the supply chain.
The new committee (F49) will develop recommended frameworks, standards, best practices, and guides related to the sharing and use of digital information across the supply chain.
According to Jeff Weiss, former ASTM International board member, the unprecedented level of supply chain disruption, congestion, and inefficiency that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, and which continues today, was a driving factor behind the new committee.
“The crisis exposed systemic problems in the supply chain that continue to have negative impacts and will create congestion during the next supply chain crisis,” Weiss said.
“Effective capacity and throughput of cargo through our transportation systems can be enhanced by improving supply chain visibility through the development and use of international standards.”
According to Weiss, a partner at legal firm Steptoe, the first priority activity for the committee will be to create a framework for sharing and use of appropriate data among supply chain stakeholders to enhance transparency.
“For example, many shippers still can’t answer three basic questions: ‘Where is my cargo? What is its condition/health? And when will it arrive at its destination?’ We intend to tackle that issue head on.”
The committee will seek to use conferences, facilitated discussions, and other activities to bring together stakeholders from throughout the supply chain. They will identify use cases that the framework can help address; find practical solutions to those use cases and ensure they are enabled by the framework; and make the framework as easy to implement as possible.
This effort directly relates to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #9 on industry, innovation, and infrastructure
“Implementation of a framework for supply chain data sharing will allow developing countries to create and maintain a resilient supply chain infrastructure, both internally and for cross-border trade, which will aid in their economic development,” Weiss said.
Weiss noted that the new committee will want to involve key stakeholders across all transportation modes throughout the global supply chain. This will include government, shippers, carriers, ports, terminals, equipment providers, technology experts, and logistics and supply chain professionals.