How Blockchain is Transforming Supply Chains
Do you know where the ingredients of your last meal were sourced? What about the clothes that you are wearing? Socially aware consumers concerned with the lack of ethical sourcing in supply chains are increasingly demanding to know more about the products and brands that they consume.
However, complex supply chains make it difficult to supply even high-level information about every item that many of us take for granted. The global community continues to take sustainability issues seriously, and we slowly realize that shrinking resources means that we need to start doing more with less. Something needs to change.
Until now, the concept of having one truth across an entire supply chain was pure fantasy. In the world of logistics, words such as traceability, trust, and transparency are the foundations that supply chains are supposedly built on but seldom delivered.
In a digital age where simplicity is the new currency, supply chains remain incredibly complex. International trading of goods creates hundreds of touchpoints, a myriad of invoices and payments and a long list of individuals or entities that provide very little in terms of value.
The Scale of the Problem
The industrial revolution enabled businesses to sell products all over the world. But unlike other industries, advances in computing and technology have further complicated matters rather than make life easier. With the Supply Chain Management market expecting to exceed $19 billion in total software sales by 2021, something needs to change.
Data silos are making it difficult to fight contamination or reducing counterfeiting. Elsewhere, environmentally conscious consumers are demanding greater transparency and assurance that their favorite brands abide by fair trade practices at every stage of the supply chain.
Increasing environmental concerns is ushering in a new era of social awareness where both business and customers need to be transparent about their production methods. Until now, it has been difficult to secure accurate data about the condition and integrity of every material and product inside the supply chain.
Blockchain to the Rescue
Any data that is recorded on the blockchain cannot be changed without agreements from everyone that is involved. Blockchain by design is inherently immutable. The transformational technology not only puts everyone on the same page, but it also reduces costs and increases accountability.
Indelible records are also valuable tools in the fight against fraud and counterfeit goods along the supply chain. A new age of decentralized tracking of the supply chain will also help eradicate so-called middlemen that are providing little in terms of value.
Many of the world’s biggest brands are increasingly turning to transformational technologies such as blockchain. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. The promotion of sustainability, transparency and removing friction from their supply chains is a step in the right direction. But, how does that work in the real world?
How Can Blockchain Bring Trust and Transparency to Supply Chains?
Blockchain finally provides a way to unite all parties in the supply chain. From the manufacturer, supplier, logistic company, retailer, insurer, bank, and customer. Imagine all parties having real-time access to real-time information on not only the product but every element behind it too.
Every material, fiber or grain can be given unique identity and enable everyone involved to track it’s every movement along the supply chain. Most importantly of all, all this can be achieved without any human intervention. For example, new solutions such as Waltonchain store information on RFID chips to items that they are attached to and record information on the immutable ledger using blockchain technology.
Elsewhere, the Ambrosus project is focused on transforming food and pharma supply chains. Real-time digital ledgers of transactions that track the movements of everyone involved is proving that trust and transparency in supply chains can be a reality rather than just another series of buzzwords.
There are countless examples of new companies that are creating positive trends in supply chains. But, with so many options in a notoriously volatile space, how can navigate through these digital unchartered waters and understand what will be the best fit for your unique requirements?
How Can Blockchain Improve My Supply Chain?
The idea of removing the slow and expensive manual processes form your supply chain will be incredibly attractive. Equally, sharing information with manufacturers, logistic companies, suppliers and third-party vendors with real-time traceability for reduced costs will probably leave you with more questions than answers.
Many will also be looking to secure an early competitive advantage by migrating away from hand-written paperwork to immutable distributed ledgers. But, what to do next and how to learn more about these transformational technologies can be daunting.
If you would like a conversation of how blockchain can transform your supply chain, by eliminating the vulnerabilities and inefficiencies of your current system, start a conversation with our team of blockchain experts who can advise how Blockchain can help transform your supply chain without bombarding you with jargon or buzzwords.