Blockchain in Supply Chain


The noise around Blockchain makes it sound like a cure-all. Blockchain is the technology created to support bitcoin transactions, and it has the potential to speed up the profitability of most businesses. Its cheerleaders say that it also improves the effectiveness of companies. They add that this boost happens most often with companies in the financial sector. It may even upend business as we know it. The early adopters also say businesses that ignore Blockchain do so at their peril.

A product has an intriguing life cycle. It goes through various hands before reaching the final consumer. A system of people and organizations transport a product from a supplier to the customer. This system, which includes business information, resources, and activities, is the “supply chain.” To keep the chain affordable and functioning, it needs active management.

Trying to manage supply chains today is a complicated task. Depending on the product type, a supply chain can go through various stages, pass through multiple geographical locations, and go on for several months. Due to this complexity, there is an interest in blockchain technology. Businesses will transform the supply chain industry.

Blockchain in supply chain example

There are several examples of management systems in any company. Most cases deal with a contract technology used to automate the entire process. Such contracts can run on the Blockchain. We need them when a severe event happens. Those contracts are mechanisms for a completely new automated supply chain operation. Some examples of using blockchain operations in supply chains are:

  1. Managing inventory
    Businesses lose track of their stock. They need to keep track of goods and know how many are for sale, on what shelf, how much storage room they have. When these measures are not in place, it makes room for poor data analytics and fraudulent behavior from employees. The use of the distributed ledger is to manage goods in various locations. It is also useful for distributing the data to multiple parties.
  2. Provenance tracking
    Big companies find it challenging to keep track of every record. Keeping track is particularly hard when the operation involves various countries. Failure to keep track can harm the reputation and reliability of the organization. Blockchain offers solutions for provenance tracking. This type of monitoring makes it easier to access goods and information immediately. It uses RFID tags and embedded sensors to track any product from its origin to any point of the chain.
  3. Identity verification
    Blockchain is a well-known technology in the field of identity verification. With Blockchain, there is no need for a third-party to verify foreign enterprises. Parties can feel free to enter contracts. It’s easy to check to see if other parties are whom they claim to be. A considerable part of the supply chain is not for verifying products, but also persons. You can use an immutable ledger to authenticate identity.
  4. Food supply chain
    Blockchain makes it simpler to prevent foodborne illnesses. Food sellers and healthcare workers can use blockchain technology as a tracing platform. It will be easy for sellers to know where they have distributed all the foods. They can then isolate the locations where buyers have consumed contaminated food. Without traceability and data, there will be no accountability.

Technology companies are developing solutions that influence all aspects of the supply chain. An example is TradeLens, which has a particular focus on logistics. TradeLens is a new, open, and neutral Blockchain-powered solution. IBM built it to support global trade. Major shippers and other players in the logistics market now use it as a single ledger. The system updates and validates this ledger with each participant.

Handling the modern supply chain involves a series of processes that can be intensive. Players must carry out these processes with precision between the different actors. In the contemporary world, the links used for distributing goods and services appear more like a web than a chain. It’s no wonder that blockchain technology is so useful in the supply chain.

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