We have seen how blockchain technology has created widespread impact in the financial sector. But, the distributed nature of its architecture makes it perfect for supply chain traceability and other applications.
Public and Private Blockchains
It is important to understand the difference between public and private blockchains to apply it to supply chain use cases. Public blockchains are permission-less distributed ledgers like bitcoin and reside in the public domain. Private blockchains are centralized and governed by nodes and are held in the private domain.
Blockchain’s Place in Supply Chain
The current supply chain is ridden with many slow and tedious processes done manually. Supply chain software is able to handle large and complex datasets but most of the lower-level processes in the supply chain is reliant on paper and is completely manual. Supply chains also have the necessity of traceability to maintain quality and credibility of products. Improving traceability becomes a keystone of the inclusion of blockchain in supply chain, and helps with problems like product recalls, reputational damage or loss of revenue due to fake products. Authenticity of brand and product can be easily maintained with blockchain in supply chain.
How will it work?
Blockchain in supply chain gives each party in the supply chain autonomy and rids the system from having to maintain multiple copies of the same record. All parties are informed of the status of the product and the quality of raw material and manufacturing can be monitored and maintained. With cryptographically secure data, information becomes immutable and secure, adding a sense of credibility to the products as well. Communication between parties involved also becomes clear and errors due to data transfer are significantly reduced. Less time can be spent to validate data and more on maintaining quality at every stage and operational costs can be significantly reduced.
Blockchain also streamlines the administrative process and reduces cost by enabling effective audit of supply chain data. Compliance checks can be conducted more easily and work that usually takes weeks can be done in a matter of seconds.
Distribution and Inventory Tracking
Supply chain with blockchain is not only useful at the manufacturing stage, but also at the distribution and inventory tracking stage. All individual products can be monitored via a QR code or RFID. Consumers will be able to trace the products back to their raw material to be sure about the products they are using. This adds great credibility to a product and brand. Trust between the consumer and business also improves.
We have discussed several use cases of blockchain in different industries but it is safe to say that blockchain in supply chain is one of its best use cases. Blockchain in supply chain will help streamline the process and make it more efficient and cost effective. An added bonus is that this can be applied to all industries, making it a one-size-fits-all solution.