Blockchain: The New Game Changer for Supply Chain and Logistics
Supply chain management is incredibly complex these days as there are too many stages and process involved.
several geographical locations further aggravate the complexity. The involvement of a multitude of entities, personnel, locations and constraints as well as specifications for each separate process make the situation more complicated and multifaceted. Such a complex niche always strives for transparency.
Blockchain, an already acclaimed distributed ledger system can be the ideal solution to ensure transparency in the processes of supply chain and logistics besides boosting their efficiency. With this effectiveness in mind, it is quite natural for any top blockchain development company to come up with industry-specific solutions for supply chain management. Blockchain-based solutions come with the new promise for supply chain management.
The broken supply chain and evolving complexity
When we look back in time, we discover the supply chain pertaining to businesses was so simple just because they were local in character. But as the businesses continued to spread across locations and became truly global in the modern era, the supply chain became tremendously complex and multifaceted in character.
The emergence of computing and later on web-based technologies completely changed the supply chain management beyond recognition. The supply chain had to adopt broken paths to meet the evolving needs of supply for global businesses. This led to tremendous complexity in the process. Complexity further led to challenges concerning efficiency, cost and output.
Blockchain to optimise transparency and security
Coming to Blockchain, time and again it has proved to be the most transparent solution to industries where large volumes of data are transferred across various layers. The data is stored in different blocks and is spread across several copies of distributed ledgers that are accessible through many computers. This highly distributed nature of the Blockchain data makes it optimum transparency and accessibility. In the supply chain, such transparency across the business processes results in higher efficiency. In turn, this positively impacts almost everything ranging from storage and warehousing to transport and delivery to payment processing.
Another and most obvious reason to consider Blockchain for supply chain management is the vast security gain it ensures. As per Blockchain, every transaction is well documented, and the history of every product right from its production to the sales is created and maintained by the ledger. While any new transaction or change of hands is instantly documented, Blockchain allows no scope of changing, deleting or tampering of this document. This “write only” nature of Blockchain provides total security cover to operational and transactional data.
In nutshell, in supply chain environment, the use of Blockchain dramatically minimises delay of time, additional cost, and all possibilities of human faults in the operational processes.
Some of the critical tasks of the supply chain improved by Blockchain technology include the following:
• Maintaining records of movable and transferring assets.
• Documenting and tracking purchase orders, receipts, any change in orders, notifications for shipment and all other vital documents in the process.
• Evaluating and verifying quality grades and characteristics of certain commodities such as food.
• Providing tracking IDs and digital tags such as a barcode, RFID and serial number for goods.
• Data sharing across vendor and supply network concerning the product manufacturing, assembly, delivery, etc.
Creating more value in the supply chain process
Improved efficiency, minimised time cycle, reduced cost and reduced risk factors are some of the key values contributed by Blockchain in the supply chain management.
Let us have a look at the key benefits of integrating Blockchain into supply chain management.
• More precise and accurate traceability of materials and products.
• Preventing losses caused by counterfeit or grey market products.
• Enhanced visibility of materials supplied by third party vendors and increased visibility of the components provided by outsourced manufacturers. This ultimately results in optimum compliance and quality control.
• Reducing the cost of documentation and paperwork to a minimum.
• Improving brand reputation through a transparent process showing details of products.
The 3 Key Benefits of Blockchain powered supply chain
Let us have a more focused look into the three most potential areas where Blockchain can transform supply chain management.
Improved efficiency in workflow
When products and components travel from one business to another and pass through hands, thanks to Blockchain companies can easily see the location of the products or materials and how they are moving. When the distributed digital ledger of Blockchain connects all stakeholders in a business process and transparently shows the entire travel path of goods, this tremendously helps in boosting the efficiency of workflows.
Information flow and validation go hand in hand
One of the biggest advantages of Blockchain is that it ensures the smooth flow of information with the inbuilt validation process. While one singular view of information about products in the supply chain remains accessible to all, the validation and evaluation processes can be integrated right into the ledger system. With Blockchain based data flow the validation and evaluation procedures ranging from grading, quality checking to all types of digital tagging can be done right when the product changes hands in the supply chain.
Blockchain can reduce transaction costs
When the complexity of multilayered transactions and flow of information is replaced by the single view distributed ledger system of Blockchain, the cost of transaction gets reduced tremendously. The entire process of duplication of documents for transactions at different gateways can be avoided with an open and distributed database accessible to all. The stakeholders in a Blockchain based supply chain management process can depend on a single open-ended system taking care of all the information passing through.
Already many companies have adopted Blockchain based solutions for supply chain management. While the integration of Blockchain across supply chains will continue, we can expect many custom solutions to emerge to make this integration further easier.
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