4soft Use Cases: Blockchain in Supply Chain
Supply chain logistics is a constant flood of data, collecting entries every minute and keeping track of the goods. To keep competitive, every company has to master this element.
It’s one of the most promising appliances of blockchain technology. Supply chain management is often an extremely complicated, incoherent and manual process, prone to mistakes and frauds. The new technology presents solutions for all of those problems.
Blockchain Use Cases in Supply Chain logistics
Tracking the products in real-time
Imagine every node of the network as a single point of touch for the product, let's say, a bar code scanner. The asset can be scanned at the factory, when it gets to the warehouse, when it is loaded on a truck, when it arrives at the shop, when it’s moved to the shelf, and when it’s sold.
You can track its whole journey on a single Blockchain, where it’s safe, secure and cannot be altered. Every node can be in the hands of a different company, but blockchain makes sure, that no one of them can cheat.
Audit Trails / Sharing Information
Each entry can be available for people with a certain level of clearance. This kind of information is essential for effective supply chain management and audits.
Benefits of Blockchain in Supply Chain
Thanks to the distributed ledger technology, even if a number of the nodes will get hacked or damaged, the ledger itself will keep working. It won't only preserve the data but will keep the whole platform up and running.
Better organization and unification of the data
Unified ledger helps to overcome the chaos - you keep all the data in “one place” (well, they are distributed, but in a single version). The automation allows for limiting expenses related to supply chain management and keeping traditional documentation.
Secure access for multiple vendors
You can grant nodes to the vendors to let them access the data safely and securely.
The ledger is immutable - there’s no way to interfere with the stored data. Unhonest vendors cannot simply add fake entries anytime they want. They are always watched by the rest of the nodes, and cannot alternate the stored data.
You can easily track the whole history of each asset.
You can use it to grant access to the data for vendors from anywhere in the world.
Blockchain relies on top tier cryptographic solutions- it combines high security with very good accessibility. The data are available for internal audits while being protected from external access.
Application Of Blockchain In Supply Chain Logistics
Horticultural business example
Horticultural retailers could leverage blockchain in their supply chain management. In this business, the conditions of shipment (such as temperature and humidity) are crucial to preserving the quality of the products - the saplings are living organisms and require certain conditions to survive.
Blockchain is a great tool to automate supply change management. We can design a system that contains a major part of its flow. It could:
- store product data on the Blockchain
- add and verify the dates of dispatch and delivery
- add and verify the additional data from external systems (such as temperature and humidity)
- search through the ledger and export the data
- provide access to the changelog
The system can allow you for collecting information on the shipment conditions to make sure the products were not damaged. It will contain data on individual shipments is collected and stored on blockchain available to senders, carriers, forwarders and other companies present in the supply chain. It can increase the efficiency of operations and help to limit fraud rates.
Walmart - tracking FMCG
Walmart Blockchain solution allows for identifying vast data on the assets. It can store information on the source, processing, storing and expiry dates. For example, take such product as butter - you have complete data on the milk, farm of origin, the medical treatments for the cows, their fodder, dairy, and the warehouse.
MAERSK - tracking containers
Blockchain for MAERSK helps to track and manage container shipping. It gives all the stakeholders secure access to the data - senders, operators, freight forwarders and other companies in the chain. It reduces costs and increases the safety of the international shipment.
De Beers - tracking diamonds
So-called “blood” or “conflict” diamonds are rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments. De Beers (a company that covers over 30% of the world’s supply of diamonds) implemented a blockchain system that helps to interrupt their flow. It tracks supply chain from the very beginning - their mining process. The solution helps to audit the diamonds suppliers and make sure they come from the right source.
Audit Trails For Ford, IBM, And LG
Ford, IBM, and LG decided to use a solution similar to the one with the diamonds to track cobalt production. The problem was similar - the mining process of cobalt is often unethical, inhumane and threatens the local environment. We described this case on our blog some time ago: https://4soft.co/blog/post/blockchain-use-case-audit-trails-ford-ibm-and-lg
Summary: Blockchain in Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management involves multiple parties, dynamic real-time data and the need for security and immutability. It calls for Blockchain, and similar as in banking, the big players are already onboard creating their solutions to make the process safer, faster and more efficient.
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