Collecting and utilizing product life-cycle data is both difficult and expensive for products that move between different industrial settings at various points of the product life-cycle. Product-centric approaches that present effective solutions in tightly integrated environments have been problematic to deploy across multiple industries and over longer timespans. Addressing deployment costs, incentives, and governance, this paper explores a blockchain-based approach for the deployment of product-centric information systems. Through explorative design science and systematic combining, the deployment of a permissionless blockchain system for collecting product life-cycle data is conceptualized, demonstrated, and evaluated by experts. The purpose of the blockchain-based solution is to manage product data interactions, to maintain an accurate single state of product information, and to provide an economic incentive structure for the provision and the deployment of the solution. The evaluation by knowledgeable researchers and practitioners identifies the aspects limiting blockchain-based deployment of solutions in the current industrial landscape. Combining theory and practice, the paper lays the foundation for a blockchain-based approach to product information management, placing design priority on inter-industrial and self-sustained deployment.
Computers in Industry, Vol. 125 (2021) 103342.