Blockchain in Supply chain

The blockchain is a technology that, applied in logistics, has an important impact on traceability and other aspects of the supply chain.

The blockchain is a decentralized way to share information reliably and securely thanks to its blockchain system verified by consensus. This means that each block of data is shared between several agents that validate them and guarantee their inviolability, without the need for an intermediary to concentrate the information.

Each exchange of information or encrypted transaction is thus recorded in the copy of each agent and, therefore, cannot be modified once made.

The blockchain had its origins as the shared database behind the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, launched in 2008, but soon the utility of its application for other uses was detected.

Applied in logistics, for example, it allows to register and authenticate product bar codes throughout the develop blockchain in supply chain to track goods in real time, in this way, if there is an attempt to modify or falsify the data of the products or orders, the actors participating in the blockchain can detect it immediately.

Blockchain and logistics

Going deeper into its uses in logistics, blockchain is designed to provide solutions to the complex ecosystems of the logistics chain where there is no major participant, where collaboration among those involved is often unreliable, where information must be centralized and where the Security of this information is a matter of high priority. With the use of the blockchain in logistics, these ecosystems can be united by alliance to foster the necessary trust among all the collaborators in the chain, whether they are partners or competitors, guaranteeing protection, traceability and confidentiality in the processes.

Blockchain offers visibility from start to finish when it comes to the shipment of goods; Each event related to a given product (whether in production, processing, transportation, storage or delivery) is recorded in the form of a blockchain transaction , also monitoring the documentation and packaging associated with that product.

Using a platform enabled with this technology in logistics guarantees that:

  • It is easier and safer to coordinate the important documentation to discover and validate the load,disposing of paperwork.
  • You can enter into "smart contracts" whose validity and compliance can be verified in real time, which makes import and export procedures quick and efficient.
  • The data exchanged between the logistics actors are reliable, and this allows for timely and accurate decisions to accelerate the transit of goods through warehouses and customs posts.
  • The system offers scalability and this results in immediate solutions as the demand for fast order deliveries increases.
  • The confidence given by the veracity of the information eliminates the need for constant audits to confirm it.

In sum, all this helps to eliminate bureaucratic processes, long waits and, therefore, the obstruction of the flow of goods.

In collaboration, the technology company and consultant IBM and the Danish transport company Maersk are using this technology to streamline information flows and financial transfers, and to reduce the time spent on bureaucratic procedures during their logistics processes.

According to a study conducted by Maersk in 2014 and cited by IBM in the announcement of its 2017 Hyperledger Fabric system , generally, the transfer of refrigerated products from Africa to Europe requires the participation of some 30 companies or officials, and It represents the generation of 200 proof of interactions. Both leading companies in their respective sectors expect to significantly reduce time and costs with the use of the blockchain .

In the Dutch port of Rotterdam, the largest in Europe, more than 15 public and private companies created a consortium two years ago to start experimenting with blockchain technology . Its purpose is to test its applications in logistics, and it has found more and more benefits by integrating it with the Internet of Things (IoT) and modern supply chain management systems.

Benefits of your application

The most remarkable attribute of blockchain technology in this regard is that the information once stored cannot be changed, which creates confidence that the rules have been respected and there is a reliable way to track the entire distribution or distribution flow. a transaction This offers total transparency in logistics, which is essential for companies that outsource suppliers and for customers of consumer products.

The advantages of using blockchain in logistics processes include:

  • Time and cost savings in supply chain management by reducing paperwork.
  • Elimination of errors and eradication of fraud.
  • Optimization of storage, transport and distribution processes.
  • Reliability and integrity of the information shared.
  • Efficient collaboration between the different participating agents.
  • Transparency in the path of the goods so that the customer always knows where his order is.
  • Greater security of the load because the consensus verification of the information will allow to detect if an employee intends to carry out a fraudulent action by altering a registration code.

Each of these benefits of using the blockchain in the supply chain will result in better customer service and greater profitability for your business.

The challenges of the future

The conjugation of blockchain in the supply chain represents agility in the processes, security and veracity of the information, transparency in the processes and trust in the collaboration. All that, in the end, will result in lower costs, logistics efficiency and greater profitability for your business.

Although its implementation has been limited so far, an acceleration in technology adoption is expected in the coming years, as well as an explosive growth of the organization that brings together the companies involved with the use of the blockchain in the supply chain, known as the Blockchain Alliance in Transportation (or BiTA).

For its members, the key to the successful implementation of technology in their sector is that universal standards are created to eliminate administrative inconsistencies and improve the visibility of goods and the transparency of processes.

The challenges facing technology in terms of the financial investment required, the adequacy of existing and applicable regulations and resistance to change among participants are not few, but the great benefits of the application of the blockchain in logistics will end up imposing it.