The Revolution of the Ever-Changing Supply Chain
Supply chains today have become more complex than ever before.
Supply chain is very different compared to what it once used to be. You could even say that it has completely done a 360 altogether with the evolution of technology. Supply chains today have become complex by the interconnection and overlap between suppliers and manufactures. Long gone are the days of simple local suppliers. Today we are faced with multiple suppliers just to manufacture one product. The supply chain has changed greatly due to the nature of such a vast ecosystem, where many elements of a product may pass through multiple parties just to be produced.
The impending problem now is how to handle the dynamic, vast and extensive supply chain when we are faced with timely constraints such as contractual agreements between multiple parties, and differentiating product lifecycles which, have much shorter production periods. The answer may well be BLOCKCHAIN! The benefits no doubt can have many positive impacts upon the industry. It’s believed that supply chain management is one of the most suitable applications for blockchain. Therefore, we can expect blockchain to grow largely within the industry to revolutionize the supply chain even further.
It’s no surprise that blockchain is changing the supply chain space. To explain it easily, blockchain is quite flexible allowing for its uses to be diversified. All in all, blockchain enables easy & successful management in any form of exchange, agreement or even tracking itself. This could take on the form of a smart contract which enables all parties to see the origins, whereabouts and even the processes which it has gone through in the supply chain.
A blockchain can be further defined as a distributed ledger that records a series of transaction like elements which, exists in several copies. Due to the nature of blockchain, it allows various entities to access the blockchain ledger as it is decentralised. In addition to this it does not depend on a single entity, which is a highpoint of blockchain technology allowing for several copies to be kept across different entities. To note, an entity that is a part of this blockchain can add the relevant data whenever needed that will also update all of the entity’s ledger, which builds trust and authority knowing that each entry is reliable and holds an element of truth. This highlights several benefits to note including enhanced transparency, greater scalability, better security, & increased innovation to just name a few.
Supply Chain Management
Specifically, blockchain is highly relevant to supply chain management. However, you may be asking yourself how and why blockchain relates so easily to supply chain management. One example is within the food and pharmaceutical industry. This can apply simply by enterprises understanding the value of storage needs. For instance, using sensors to record temperature either within fridges or in particular perishable foods or medications, or even transport of these goods. This information in itself can be stored on a blockchain to make sure the data is secure and it can-not be prone to human error. The blockchain brings such elements of reliability and integrity to the forefront of the supply chain industry providing consensus nonetheless.
All in all, blockchain enables supply chain networks to create one shared truth without too much fuss. The blockchain acts as an intermediary between all parties, where each party has a copy of the ledger. Attempting to manipulate any part of the blockchain thus becomes almost impossible since multiple copies are held between different parties. For example, if one blockchain from a particular network was hacked, it would only manipulate that one copy, not every single copy of the ledger. Some of the benefits of using blockchain technology include reducing & eliminating fraud and errors, improving inventory & asset management, minimising freight costs, reduces delays in manual paperwork, identifies issues more quickly, and lastly increases consumer & partner trust instantly.
Linking The Supply Chain With Smart Contracts
Here at Adapt Ideations, we are proud to be at the forefront of technology by incorporating blockchain into our business solutions that we offer. A part of a PoC, Adapt Ideations has developed a smart contracts application between four organisations and deployed to our platform using IBM hyperledger. Of importance, our sensors monitored two parameters-temperature & operating time. The information that was relayed back to our platform was able to identify if there were any violations of the temperature time or operation time of the machines enabling all parties to be notified of the violation. Adapt Ideations is the development stages of building the next version of our platform, which will be enterprise level and highly scalable in supply chain operations.