What is blockchain?
Blockchain technology allows computers in different locations to access the same information in real time. No single company has control, allowing for equal accountability and disclosure. Real time updates into the system reduce the need for companies to spend hours trawling through each others’ internal records.
“In a nutshell, this is a global system for mediating trust and selective transparency.” (Michael J. Casey & Pindar Wong).
The concept is similar to shared Google Drive or Dropbox folders, where everyone involved has access, can update information and can see what is happening live within the online sharing and storage cloud.
When companies are faced with a lack of transparency and accountability across complex supply chains, problems are hard to identify and address because it is difficult to monitor suppliers in real time.
So, what is blockchain doing about it?
Some companies are utilising this blockchain technology to “transfer title and record permissions and activity logs so as to track the flow of goods and services between businesses and across borders.”
Blockchain allows users to attach digital tokens to goods that go through the production, shipment and delivery phases of the supply chain and the attached information is available for everyone to see in real time.
It also reduces the need for paperwork – which can be a huge cost for companies that have to share files by manually transporting them between locations.
How are different companies using blockchain?
According to Harvard Business Review, Walmart is following the movement of pork in China with a blockchain and BHP Billiton is using it to track mineral analysis done by outside vendors. South Korean business SK Group C&C has launched its own blockchain service to target supply-chain orientated companies and other businesses reliant on shipment.
A spokesperson from SK Group C&C discussed the reason blockchain is changing the face of logistics management:
“Currently, shipping companies and each land carrier have independent logistics systems that are often incompatible. In such a case, cargo management data needs to be reconfirmed and recorded every time the cargo is transferred to another sub-carrier, making the logistics process inefficient.” (Stan Higgins).
The Belgium-based Port of Antwerp, the second biggest port in Europe, is collaborating with a blockchain startup, T-Mining, to “speed up the interactions between port customers to prevent the malicious manipulation of data.” The biggest port in Europe, Rotterdam, is also getting involved in testing blockchain processes for logistics.
Maersk, a well-established Danish shipping company has recently completed its live trial of blockchain to test simplifying the shipping of trillions of dollars of goods around the world.
So it’s not just one type of logistics company that this benefiting from blockchain testing, which might suggest that it could be a global solution to a lot of logistical problems.
In our opinion, an increase in synchronised logistics can only be beneficial for the industry as a whole. Separate solutions what have no real-time interfaces have been a hindrance for companies for years, and have created issues that should have been long relegated to the history books.
We will always recommend a fully integrated solution such as the one blockchain advertises. Here at MoyaVox, we will continue to develop new applications and functionality that will continue to make this easier and cheaper to implement!