What is Supply Chain?
Supply chain is essentially the entire behind-the-scenes network that links a product from its point of origination to its final destination. Think from manufacturing to consumer, and every single step in between. Supply chains are often very complex as they encompass all vendors, warehouses, retailers, and so on that bring a product to life and then to a customer. Due to their inherent complexity, there are ample opportunities for items to be misplaced, lost, or stolen. The only way to combat these issues is to increase visibility at all points in the supply chain. Enter blockchain.
Where Does Blockchain Fit in With all of This?
Each transaction in the supply chain could benefit from improved visibility and traceability. Blockchain in the supply chain can be used to create a distributed ledger to all parties, enhancing visibility and compliance. Blockchain’s tamper-proof nature eliminates any concerns over data validation, costs of managing data, time delays, and human errors. Decentralized data in blockchain also enables real-time visibility into the supply, applicable to optimized supply chain management.
For example, consider the following benefits of blockchain in the supply chain:
- Traceability allows for the corruption-proof means of tracking goods, raw materials or shipments in real-time. This helps managers make proactive decisions and share data with other blockchain users. Instead of isolating data, shared data empowers all parties.
- Transparency in data quality eliminates misconceptions and uncertainty. Continuous authenticity, proven by blockchain’s record, reduces the risk of miscommunication and unintentional data deletion or altering. These are critical areas of focus for understanding returns management, resolving consumer and business-to-business disputes and even consumer-centric service and personalization of goods.
- Reduced human errors have a two-sided benefit on efficiency. They alleviate risk by isolating issues immediately and reduce the amount of time spent trying to find potential problems. As a result of fewer human errors in data reconciliation, supply chain leaders can make decisions faster and with greater confidence.
- Increased efficiency through streamlined data management. One of the critical issues with today’s supply chain management lies in latent data transfers, which result in lost productivity of systems and activities. Blockchain restores trust and effectively reduces latency by giving everyone in the system access to the decision-affecting information immediately.
- Improved regulatory compliance derives from increased traceability, transparency and efficiency in critical supply chain functions, up to and including final delivery or returns management.
- Support processes become seamless through blockchain. Blockchain’s use in managing IT, HR and AR have additional implications for reducing back-office demand. Faster processing applies to payment management, securing available freight capacity, load planning and more.
How Could You Benefit from adding Blockchain to Your Supply Chain?
There are countless use cases for blockchain in the supply chain. In truth, every supply chain could benefit from its use in some form. Even service agencies could leverage blockchain in the supply chain to track trunk stock, empowering technicians and company agents regardless of their level in the organization. Ultimately, more information begets better supply chain management, and knowing the information is accurate and relevant will reduce unnecessary costs. To learn more about how you could benefit from adding blockchain to your organization, request a demo of our Track and Trace platform today!