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4 Ways to Use Blockchain to Improve Supply Chain Management

The supply chain in the past was way simpler than it is right now. With the world becoming more interconnected, the current supply chain has become incredibly complex. 

With larger networks, multiple products, millions of customers, multimodal transportation, several stages, several locations, etc. it has become much harder to manage the whole logistics process.

Problems Due to Complex Supply Chains:

Owing to its complexity, it becomes challenging for the organizations to coordinate, cooperate and keep a track of the whole logistics process to make it transparent. The lack of transparency and loss of track can result in the mishandling of the product, information or financial sprawl, counterfeiting, and above all the dissatisfaction of the customer.

These disruptions, in turn badly impact revenues, the overall cost of the product, sales, and, the speed of production and distribution in the longer run. 

Many companies have been looking for ways to make the supply chain transparent and increase visibility across the whole logistics process. Then blockchain came to the rescue.

Source: walletweekly.com

How is Blockchain Helping?

Blockchain operating principles are based on its three important features:

  • Immutability
  • Transparency
  • Decentralization

Immutability

All the links in the supply chain have become increasingly complex. Also with the involvement of third parties, suspicion of illegal practices increases. 

With immutability, meddling with the data becomes impossible. Whatever changes are made, all the information is shared with the people involved. Hence, the chances for fraud and counterfeiting are almost reduced to zero. Blockchain can help improve the efficiency of the whole logistics process. 

Providing a single source of information that is too dominated by the features of transparency and immutability, blockchain helps build trust among the stakeholders.

Decentralized Data Structures

Blockchain having decentralized data structures provides public and private digital ledgers that can assist in the coordination of important information and in keeping a track of it. 

As they are decentralized, they are not owned by a single entity, and the data is shared among everyone who is a part of the whole network.

Source: btcmanager.com

Transparency and Traceability

Blockchain can help logistics and freight forwarding companies handle their business with a larger network that may be spread across several cities or countries efficiently. Not only this, but blockchain can also build up a system that ensures better security and more transparency across the supply chain giving the organization opportunities to grow exponentially.

Technology has transformed all aspects of our lives, intending to make it easy and efficient. Though the technology of blockchain was developed for bitcoin, it is considered to be the game-changer in the field of logistics as it brings reliability and integrity to a company. 

The companies with the help of blockchain can track the shipment at every step; from the order placement to its delivery with guaranteed transparency. Thus, it can help organizations to improve customer relationships by earning their trust.

Tracking in Real-time

As discussed earlier, blockchain can provide tracking at every step of the supply chain. From the order placement to its delivery, all the stages can be easily and speedily traced without any hassle. 

Blockchain can be used to track the whole life-cycle of a product and trace its movement and status from the manufacturer to the consumer.

Tracking Eatables and Medicines

It has proven to be extremely beneficial for companies that deal with eatables. Checking on the credibility of the food items including vegetables and fruits has never been that easy. 

Moreover, it helps ensure the safety of the product. Data security in the health department is paramount. 

The transportation of temperature-sensitive items including medicines is a huge responsibility. 

Security of Product Ensured

Any kind of delay or product manipulation could result in grave consequences. 

But with blockchain, as the tracking becomes easier, the product’s security can be ensured.

Source: supplychain247.com

Building a Customer’s Trust

Some companies are using this technology to let their customers look up the chain history by using blockchain-based QR codes with the help of a smartphone app. 

This traceability protocol is allowing its customers to trace the product to the point of its origin leading to sustainable consumption and building trust in the customers.

Digitally Secure Transaction

Blockchain agreements allow digital transactions to offer a transparent and secure process. Moreover, it can help spot any sort of financial anomaly in billing, invoices, and payments by taking care of all the critical data and the chances of counterfeiting are reduced to zero. 

With a single data silos, blockchain enables multi-party transactions resulting in transparency and facilitating automated business transactions. It offers innovative business models with more transparency and more visibility.

Automation

Many parts of the logistics procedure are still required to be done manually and depend on some paper-based documentation which can create trouble to track the product. Blockchain can help overcome these problems. 

Blockchain enables automation. Having the ability to store a large amount of unstructured data digitally, the commercial process can be automated as soon as the terms and conditions of the contracts are met. 

The self-regulation of the contracts saves time, and hassle and secures the interests of the people involved.

Trusting Each Other

Blockchain’s feature of immutability makes it impossible for anyone to manipulate or corrupt the data. So blockchain helps build a good level of trust and credibility in the supply chain. 

Whether it’s about the transactions or the safety of the product, all can be ensured using blockchain as it also enhances the visibility in the supply chain. Nothing can be tampered with.

suuplychainbeyond.com

Confidence and Trust

The efficiency and reliability of the supply chain can considerably be improved using blockchain as it requires minimal bureaucracy and paperwork. 

The lengthy paperwork can be replaced by an automated digital data structure that can’t be played with. It ensures that the information is accurate as controlled access is given to everyone involved giving confidence and trust.

Security

Blockchain provides security against the prevalent risks of hacking or data manipulation. The information and data breach in the older ways of agreements could be easily compromised.

Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts

As discussed earlier, smart contracts can be self-executed and are fully autonomous after being launched.  

Moreover, the regulation of manual contracts often requires the involvement of lawyers, brokers, litigators, etc. which costs a lot of money. This money can be saved with the help of blockchain technology.

Source: cubix.com

Locating Any Condition in Agreement

Business agreements often involve a great number of pages and hundreds of clauses and sometimes it becomes hard to keep a track of them and to make sure that every step is being followed. 

With blockchain, it becomes easier to locate any clause and the parties agreeing to a contract can easily ensure if the conditions are being taken care of or not.

Avoiding Delay

The contracts and agreements between different parties require time and the services of lawyers and bankers for their regulation. This can cause a delay in the whole process and a lot of costs.

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Danielle Gregory is a full-time Writer, Traveler, and Marketing Expert at Al Sharqi Shipping. She writes about a range of subjects such as Supply chain, Logistics, and IoT.