Blockchain and Supply Chain Management
Blockchain will be a game changer for supply chains and logistics to reduce inefficiencies and enable integration across the supply chain. The idea is that consumers can know exactly what they are buying and the information collected can also be used to draw up smart contracts between suppliers and the consumer to enforce quality control.
Most applications of the technology integrate some physical technology such as RFID tags, and ultimately are working towards the concept of total connectedness via the internet – IoT (internet of things), where computing devices embedded in everyday objects enables them to send and receive data. Some major examples of industries that will benefit are:
- Cold-Chain Logistics
- Medical & Healthcare
- Luxury & Fashion
Essentially, any products that require specific environmental conditions such as temperature or humidity will be able to be tracked much more accurately. Regarding Luxury and Fashion, the cryptographic signatures of blockchain technology will help reduce counterfeit goods by providing unique identifiers for every item.
Major Corporations Using Blockchain
Software services for supply chain services
The benefits of Blockchain technology for business keep building up, but the knowledge base and available coders to make these systems is not keeping pace. Blockchain templates allow businesses to get right to the benefits, without having to pay computer programmers to start from square one.
Blockchains will have major impact for companies with many subsidiaries, as they help streamline the data storage on a distributed network while still safeguarding access permissions to the particulars of the company. Products can move within the company from source, to storage and even out to customer more precisely.
Amazon has launched blockchain templates through their subsidiary Amazon Web Services. They provide them to be built on the Ethereum public network as well as the Hyperledger permission network developed by the Linux Foundation.
Oracle is one of the supply chain management leaders as far as software providers. They were also one of the first to dive into blockchain to provide Templates.
Walmart deals with basically every product available for purchase in some way. However, their first experiments using blockchain for products has been with produce. It’s likely they will continue to expand use across their entire supply chain.
DHL will be using blockchain through ShipChain. Their Customer Solutions and Innovation team researched and wrote the report involving ShipChain starting, “blockchain has the significant potential to increase efficiency along the entire logistics and settlement process including trade finance and help to resolve disputes in the logistics industry.”
They will utilize ShipChain’s “track and trace” platform to enable smart contracts that are boosting accuracy and transparency. They go on to say that “by joining forces, we can create the right foundations for successful industry adoption of blockchain and we can ultimately unlock new value in logistics.”
FedEx CEO Fred Smith is totally bullish on Blockchain. Speaking at the Coindesk Consensus conference 2018, he was wholly focused on implementation of blockchain technology to revolutionize they way their company does business – “For cross-border shipments, ‘trust’ is legal requirement for every transaction. What blockchain has is a potential for the first time ever to make the information available for everybody.”
Their CIO explained the most pressing application of the technology for Fedex – “We move easily 12 million shipments a day and that more than doubles during the peak seasons. While we absolutely believe this technology is going to scale, right now it makes sense for us to do this in our freight world.”
Cryptocurrency / Blockchain Based companies
Gernal Supply Chain Applications
Waltonchain was the first project to be launch in the sphere of supply chain management. It combines the best of both physical and digital world to create an efficient system by using RFID chips for IoT and data tracking with blockchain to achieve:
- Data Integrity for fair audits
The WTC blockchain provides a parent and child chain structure to connect various industries that may want some portions of their data on a private chain. WTC even produces their own chip technology to give them a competitive edge over most other blockchain solutions.
VeChain is a general supply chain solution powered by IoT chips, sensors, and blockchain tech to provide seamless integration of different business on the blockchain. The biggest upside to Vechain is their partnership with PwC, a multinational professional services network that is considered to be one of the most prestigious in the world.
Food & Medicine Supply Chain
Ambrosus also started in late 2017 focusing on Food and Medicine transportation aiming to create more efficient management, smart agriculture, smart medical care and smart food traceability. The CEO Angel Versetti previously worked at the UN as well as with the World’s Resource Forum.
Their protocol combines high-tech sensors, blockchain tech, and smart contracts to create a universally trusted, verifiable, and community-driven system to assure the quality, safety & origins of food and medicinal products.
Pharmaceutical Supply Chain
Modum is a company based in Switzerland designed specifically for the pharma industry. They are utilizing IoT sensors with blockchain technology to provide data integrity for transactions involving medicinal products. This may not be one of the physically largest supply chain areas, however, the monetary value transactions is well into the billions each year.
Because the industry involves strict government regulations, contract management, safety, and audits are extremely important. These technologies are perfect for perfecting and correcting issues in the existing system.
The Modum sensors record environmental conditions that goods are subject to while in transit for quality standards. When the goods change ownership, the sensor data is verified against predetermined conditions in a smart contract in the blockchain. The contract validates that the conditions meet all of the requirements set out by the sender, their clients, or a regulator and can trigger various actions. Examples are notifications to sender and receiver, payment, or release of the product.
WaBi looks to prevent counterfeiting of products by using anti-counterfeiting labels. They leverages the technology of anti-counterfeiting RFID labels by Walimai and combines it with blockchain. Walimai label is applied at a designated ‘point of origin’ along the supply chain. This links the product with its digital representation in the cloud, containing:
- Encrypted unique ID
- Dynamic Code
- Geographical Data