Digital Chain of Custody Platforms

Digital Chain of Custody Platforms

Also Known As

“Digital traceability platforms”

Functionality in Traceability Systems

Documents transactions, product volumes, and product information throughout the supply chain, enabling the tracking and tracing of goods in real time or retroactively.


Digital chain of custody platforms can operate in several (and sometimes overlapping) ways using different types of data input and flows. Regardless of the approach, digital chain of custody platforms provide mechanisms for digitally collecting and documenting transaction and product data – either in real time, mirroring product flow (fiber/raw material-forward), or retroactively, identifying product origin and journey through supply chain maps and purchase orders (garment/finished product-backward).

Digital Chain of Custody Platforms can collect data via manual upload of transaction and certification data by each individual supplier or via tools that automate collection of this transaction data and upload. In some cases, data collection may be a hybrid of automated systems with some human data entry at certain points. Automated data collection typically requires the use of labels that create a unique identifier for batches of goods and an automated method of reading and capturing that information at each transaction point; in some cases automated data collection can also be integrated with internal product lifecycle management systems. Digital Chain of Custody Platforms can often therefore be used with Additive Tracers, Forensic Tracing, and Tags either as inherent parts of the platform/solution, or in partnership with entities offering Tracer or Tag solutions. Similarly, Digital Chain of Custody Platforms can be Blockchain-enabled or cloud-based to enable numerous supply chain partners to access the platform. Digital Chain of Custody Platforms are often able to integrate with existing business and enterprise management software as well as with data sets relating to risk assessment and sustainability scores; interoperability is important to the smooth functioning of Digital Chain of Custody Platforms, as data may be input to the platform through a variety of sources by different supply chain actors.

Some Digital Chain of Custody Platforms offer additional functionalities, such as supply chain mapping and visualization, supply chain management, and facility profiling. See Supply Chain Transparency & Management Platforms for more information.

Associated Traceability System Element

Digital Chain of Custody Platforms support Supply Chain Engagement and Product Tracking traceability methods. When used with Forensic Tracing and Additive Tracers, they can also support Scientific Validation methods.

Supply Chain Characteristics Feasibility Considerations

Digital Chain of Custody Platforms can be used in a wide variety of supply chains, especially where there is a need for sharing information in a secure way across multiple parties and/or an imperative to have complete physical traceability at the product or batch level. Cooperation among participants, interoperability, and access to technical infrastructure are necessary requirements for successful implementation of a Digital Chain of Custody Platform.


Blockchain-based digital chain of custody platforms

Additional Resources