Blockchain is a digital ledger on which users can make permanent and public records of the details of their transactions. Such details are protected by cryptography in blocks that are chained together in chronological order. Users are then able to trace and verify their records with ease. Being public means that recorded data is viewable by all users while being permanent means that data once recorded cannot be erased, changed, or edited; thus eliminating counterfeit and fraud.
Chain supply on the other hand is the storage and flow of information, as well as goods and services from their point of origin to their point of consumption. Logistics on the other hand entails the integration, coordination, and maintenance of this flow through the careful recording of data. Logistics creates value by increasing value for customers at the lowest cost possible.
Blockchain has the potential to impact just about any sector of our lives and economy. It is set to help supply chain systems by increasing security, efficiency, transparency, and reducing costs.
Currently, most supply chain management systems only offer real-time views for very small portions of their data-points. Meanwhile, every transaction on Blockchain is viewable to all stakeholders who also have to verify it to make it valid. Therefore, Blockchain can serve as a master ledger to supply chain managers, whereby all parties can record and view all kinds of data and transactions. Here are some of the impacts this new technology is bound to have on-chain supply and logistics.
When transactions are recorded on Blockchain, suppliers and vendors can view the same real-time information, which helps eliminate several steps of a typical chain supply process. Documents, shipment, and payments can, therefore, be approved with ease without having to go through the traditional mail and delivery. This consequently eliminates delays and helps with saving costs while reducing internal and external audits significantly.
Blockchain is designed in such a way as to resist the modification of recorded data. Recorded data and transactions cannot be altered without the alteration of all the subsequent blocks which will require the majority of the stakeholders to get on board. Such transparency has greatly contributed to the increase in security. Supply chain managers can, therefore, worry less about their subordinates cooking the books.
The system automatically checks the balance of any new transaction records, and prevent their entry if the transaction is out-of-balance. By so doing, errors, duplications, and any other violations are reduced significantly. Also, contract terms are observed to the latter.
Currently, most supply chain systems struggle to keep up with the constant flow of data. This is especially true because of their hundreds of stages in the movement of goods from producer to consumer. However, if an exchange id to be conducted on the Blockchain, every transaction will be visible immediately it is recorded. Such transactions can entail delivery, payment, documentation, contracts and so much more.
Blockchain being incorporated into the supply chain and logistics is indeed setting new standards for the chain supply and logistics venture. Things are only bound to get better.