Blockchain-based Forward Supply Chain and Waste Management for COVID-19 Medical Equipment and Supplies
preprintposted on 16.01.2021, 11:26 by Raja Wasim Ahmad, Khaled Salah, Raja Jayaraman, Ibrar Yaqoob, Mohammed Omar, Samer Ellahham
The year 2020 has witnessed unprecedented levels of demand for COVID-19 medical equipment and supplies. However, most of today's systems, methods, and technologies leveraged for handling the forward supply chain of COVID-19 medical equipment and the waste that results from them after usage are inefficient. They fall short in providing traceability, reliability, operational transparency, security, and trust features. Also, they are centralized that can cause a single point of failure problem. In this paper, we propose a decentralized blockchain-based solution to automate forward supply chain processes for the COVID-19 medical equipment and enable information exchange among all the stakeholders involved in their waste management in a manner that is fully secure, transparent, traceable, and trustworthy. We integrate the Ethereum blockchain with decentralized storage of interplanetary file systems (IPFS) to securely fetch, store, and share the data related to the forward supply chain of COVID-19 medical equipment and their waste management. We develop algorithms to define interaction rules regarding COVID-19 waste handling and penalties to be imposed on the stakeholders in case of violations. We present system design along with its full implementation details. We evaluate the performance of the proposed solution using cost analysis to show its affordability. We present the security analysis to verify the reliability of the smart contracts, and discuss our solution from the generalization and applicability point of view. Furthermore, we outline the limitations of our solution in form of open challenges that can act as future research directions. We make our smart contracts code publicly available on GitHub.