Tracing the Steel Industry Supply Chain (EN578-170003/22)
- Publishing status
- Publication date
- Amendment date
- Date closing
- 2019/02/15 14:00 Eastern Standard Time (EST)
- Reference number
- Solicitation number
- Region of opportunity
- Region of delivery
- Notice type
- Request for Proposal (RFP)
- Trade agreement
- Tendering procedure
- Solely Canadian content
- Procurement entity
- Public Works and Government Services Canada
- End user entity
- Public Works and Government Services Canada
- Contact name
- Secrétariat de Solutions Innovatrices Canada / Innovative Solutions Canada Secretariat
- Contact email
- Contact address
10 Wellington Gatineau QC K1A 0S5 CA
Find Out Who Is Interested In This Tender
Are you looking for partnering opportunities or thinking about bidding? Find out who is interested in the tender and add your name to the List of Interested Suppliers.
Access the List of Interested Suppliers for this tender
The following statistics are only for the English page and are provided in close to real time. To calculate the total activity for a tender notice, you will need to add the English and French statistics.
- Page views
- Unique page views
- Tender notice updates
- Get notifications for this tender notice:
For more information on notifications, visit the Follow Opportunities page.
January 23, 2019
The closing date for this challenge has been extended to February 15, 2019 at 14:00 EST.
December 24, 2018
Attachment 1 has been added. The document contains questions and answers related to the Challenge.
This Challenge Notice is issued under the Innovative Solutions Canada Program Call for Proposals 002 (EN578-170003/C).
Please refer to the Solicitation Documents which contain the process for submitting a proposal.
Steps to apply:
Step 1: read this challenge
Step 2: read the Call for Proposals
Step 3: propose your solution
Challenge title: Tracing the Steel Industry Supply Chain
Sponsoring Department: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)
Funding Mechanism: Contract
Maximum Contract Value:
Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.
The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $150,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 6 months.
The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $1,000,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 2 years. Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.
This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding.
Travel: For Phase 1 it is anticipated that two meetings will require the successful bidder(s) to travel to the location identified below:
Final Review Meeting
Meetings could also be called on an ad hoc basis to discuss progress in Phase 1.
Problem Summary Statement
The challenge seeks to create a novel application of a digital tracing system enabled by blockchain and artificial intelligence for the Canadian and possibly North American steel supply chain for business users and government.
Steel products and inputs are not being comprehensively or securely traced with modern digital systems. Access to information related to the steel supply chain is also worsened by a lack of a standardized information-sharing mechanism which can result in delays in acquiring relevant data impacting government operations and steel business profitability. Currently there are no known applications of artificial intelligence analytics on Canadian steel sector information. Moreover, tools for trade and border activity are not optimizing tracing (blockchain) and AI technology in the steel sector.
The challenge is to develop a digital tool that would trace inputs and outputs in real time in the steel supply chain - up stream and down stream - using blockchain technology, and apply artificial intelligence enabled data analytics on this information, to better capture activities across the steel supply chain. ISED would directly benefit from such a technology as it would facilitate and enhance evidence-based policy making. Moreover, it could also be used by government to ease and digitize customs clearance procedures.
For industry, in particular downstream firms, it would offer product supply and demand predictions, instant verification of origin and quality of inputs and products (allowing for confirmation of responsible sourcing), reduced costs, increased efficiency and productivity, and predictive insights about inputs, use and demand metrics.
Desired outcomes and Considerations
Essential (Mandatory) Outcomes
Proposed solutions must:
- provide real-time insights and information; be available to users within minutes of upload (on smart phone and web interface), in order to digitally automate steel supply chain transactions, information, and data flows; allow for export of some data;
- be secure - where individual business information and confidentiality is regulated by guaranteeing levels of protection of elements of government and firm data; allow users to be private, public or a hybrid and have commensurate access views and functionality; business and government must be confident that sensitive information cannot be viewed outside allowed users;
- use blockchain technology to ensure accuracy of data and transparency. To maintain a full digital trail in case of input errors, users must be able to rectify mistakes by "adding onto the log", rather than deleting mistakes entirely;
- use artificial intelligence enabled data analytics to better capture activities across the steel supply chain. For example, using AI to have information on past, current and predicted demand for any input and output and predicting downstream product volume from supply products to name several;
- allow for appropriate users to be alerted for anomalies in the supply chain and offer suggestions as to what action could be taken;
- provide a comprehensive digital breakdown of the component parts of steel and steel products, such as coal, iron ore, nickel, steel scrap, and finished steel products; and,
- easily integrate with existing government and industry digital infrastructures to facilitate adoption processes, and not be costly to adopt.
Proposed solutions should:
- have a user-friendly interface (smart phone and web interface) that is easy to navigate.
The development of a shared approach to integration of steel data between businesses and government would significantly increase timeliness of data access, efficiency, and communication networks. Steel businesses on occasion undergo delays at border crossings which can last weeks due to the inability to obtain required documentation. It is imperative that the technology solution allows access to information in a short amount of time to avoid these types of delays.
The implementation of a new platform could require re-training personnel as well as either updating business information systems and/or establishing new ones to ensure interoperability; the technology solution will have to be able to interface and interact properly with government and business systems. As such, adoption of this process will likely involve both monetary costs and time for Canadian firms and government departments and agencies.
Another consideration will be sharing and distributing information between governments and industry such that there is a consensus on data access and privacy. The technology solution must have the capacity to process and store large amounts of data, which will be accessible by multiple end users over geographically diverse locations. Data regarding steel and steel inputs will be able to be accessed and uploaded by steel producers, input producers, distributors, fabricators, downstream users, government offices, etc.
Convincing companies at various stages of the supply chain (steel input producers, steel producers, steel distributors, fabricators, and downstream users) to input transaction records in a shared system will be difficult. Concerns would include ensuring the security of the system and immutability of the data. As such, safety of the system is crucial and all aspects will have to be considered including: logical and physical storage security, monitoring for deviations and responding to suspicious behaviour, and protecting against unauthorized access and digital attacks.
The development of a computerized system providing a comprehensive digital breakdown of the component inputs of steel and steel products will advance sustainability and responsible business conduct by allowing firms and government agencies to ensure responsible sourcing of materials, and verify domestic content requirements when needed. When developing the technology solution, options related to physical tagging to best trace the supply chain should be considered.
Background and Context
Current rules of origin verification methods and trade facilitation processes are built on existing and somewhat antiquated information technology systems, where origin of steel can be validated largely through documentation such as a steel mill certificate. New opportunities regarding shared value, transparency and trade could be realized through the implementation of an innovative digital system. The development and adoption of a new blockchain and AI enabled technology platform would allow for a seamless integration of industry data with government required documentation (e.g. mill certificates, licenses) which could help improve accountability and transparency through the supply chain, while also reducing costs and delays. Also, as trade and domestic policy adjusts, for example, Canada’s recent alignment of its country of origin marking regime, certification and labeling for steel products in accordance with U.S. requirements, a digital tool that is flexible and can serve new demands from government and industry will reduce transaction costs and create efficiencies for both government and industry.
There is greater pressure than ever for industry to produce more socially and environmentally sustainable products. One example of this comes from the Mining Association of Canada, whose members are leaders in corporate responsibility; their “Towards Sustainable Mining” commitment ensures that mining risks are managed responsibly. This represents an innovative pledge to facilitate engagement, drive world-leading environmental practices, and ensure the safety and health of employees and communities. The Canadian Steel Producers Association has also demonstrated interest developing a tool that will ensure sustainability in production. Other examples of these types of goals can be seen across supply chains.
An opportunity exists for the Canadian steel industry to implement a new, cutting-edge approach to the sourcing of steel and inputs, and therefore establishing “responsible steel”. This goal could be achieved through a rigorous industry-wide tracing mechanism within the supply chain, and through increased transparency.
All enquiries must be submitted in writing to TPSGC.SIC-ISC.PWGSC@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca no later than ten calendar days before the Challenge Notice closing date. Enquiries received after that time may not be answered.
Government of Canada (GC) tender notices and awards, solicitation documents and tender attachments are available free of charge and without registration on Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders, the authoritative location for GC tenders.
You may have received this tender notice or award through a third-party distributor. The Government of Canada is not responsible for any tender notices and/or related documents and attachments not accessed directly through Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders.
This Government of Canada tender notice or tender award carries an Open Government Licence - Canada that governs its use. Related solicitation documents and/or tender attachments are copyright protected. Please refer to the section about Commercial Reproduction in the Buyandsell.gc.ca Terms and Conditions for more information.