Few people do realize that blockchain technology has generated a new approach of automated processes in a variety of industries. Certainly, the supply chain sector could not be an exception.
But, what exactly is a Blockchain? Regarding Wikipedia, Blockchain technology is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data.
Walmart is a big enterprise that has already adopted blockchain in supply chain processes. They have already gained a competitive advantage against their competitors by improving the procedures of their supply chain systems.
Supply chain managers that adopt this new approach maximize the performance of their companies in a short period of time. Various improvements arise from the blockchain integration. Transparency, cost reduction, high levels of automation and quality process control.
Automated Planning Processes
Many enterprises lose a lot of time when they plan to order elements that they need in the supply chain. Coordinating orders via contacting suppliers manually through emails or calls can be a time-consuming process. Having inventory planning data into an automated network assists in maintaining a warehouse system with limited slack time from the moment that raw materials are about to run out and the time that the supplier ships the materials. Εnterprises can automate this process by using (algorithmic) blockchain technologies, such as smart contracts, that initiate the planning procedure when certain conditions are met, for instance when raw materials reach a low number of units in the warehouse. By integrating a blockchain in supply chain and more specifically in these processes, inventory planning occurs automatically, leading to better coordination of inventories.
Blockchain can be applied to current fleet management systems and in future systems, where autonomous vehicles are going to take place as well.
Shipment tracking is very important for checking the quality, especially regarding sensitive products, and ensuring that cargos are in good condition when they reach the selling points. Also, the Driver Vehicle Condition Report (DVCR) is another essential process that is correlated with the refinement of fleet management processes. Nowadays, DVCR, which must be filled by drivers before and after a trip, are filled manually and the records are kept in paper documents. Having said that, this data can be lost or corrupted due to the paper-based nature of the process. By utilizing blockchain in supply chain, the condition of the transportation equipment and the maintenance of it is recorded automatically into a network which allows instant coordination and inspection of any issue that is created during the transportation of goods.
A distributed ledger that keeps track of all the transactions that have occurred and the data that are relevant to these transactions allow companies to make better decisions regarding their inventory management. Instead of the old-fashioned approaches of First-in-First-out (FIFO) or Last-in-First-Out (LIFO) blockchain provides more and better data that leads to better outcomes. Many enterprises cannot gather the necessary data that assist them in monitoring their warehouses. Thus they cannot predict the actual demand of products or materials that are important for their production and as a result, they stock inventory that it is not needed. This inefficiency is tackled by data analytics that a blockchain network provides. The more data that are stored, the better estimations are generated by the management team.
The value of adopting a blockchain stems from the fact that it connects different data points and preserves the integrity of data among all involved counterparts.
Benefits of Blockchain in Supply Chain
Summing up, the benefits of adopting blockchain in supply chain industry are:
- Cost reduction
- Better flow of information
- Faster issue identification
- Product quality improvement
- Trust empowerment
- Data transparency
The coordination of Low-Code BPM platforms and blockchain networks provide an extraordinary advantage for any enterprise that is interested in reducing costs and slack times. Comidor provides a case management platform that allows all employees in an organization, to monitor supply chain processes as it is a central hub of data and information. Internet-of-Things (IoT) is another emerging technology with many useful applications including, business collaboration and efficient warehouse management processes. Supply chain managers who leverage these innovations see their profits increase and build solid relationships among all supply chain counterparts. Explore one of the Comidor success stories in the logistics sector.