The first question for most - what is this blockchain thing? It was originally designed for digital currencies like Bitcoin. In those terms, if the entire blockchain were a history of digital transactions, an individual’s Bitcoin digital statement would be a single block in the chain.
In broader terms, blockchain is a shared database that keeps records and data in a way that prevents them being hacked or tampered with. People can view the data, they just can’t change or delete it. The original information stays put, leaving a permanent and public information trail that can be trusted as accurate.
What has this to do with supply chains? Blockchain tech is offering real opportunities for improvement across supply chains, including transparency, security, and the big one – trust.
Managing a supply chain is complex. The more links there are, the more complicated it becomes, and the more vulnerable it is to breaking. So it’s no wonder that there’s sometimes a lack of trust between business partners across a supply chain, and that ends up being to everyone’s detriment.
Like the Internet, blockchain is inherently robust. It’s transparent and incorruptible, and assuming the technology behind it continues to be developed, it’s likely to prove as durable as the Internet in years to come.
Think about what this could mean for a supply chain. All the data is viewable, transparent, and traceable. Business owners, their partners, suppliers and customers can all enjoy peace of mind knowing that because the data’s not held in a centralised location, and that it employs some clever cryptography to make it impossible to change or fake that data, it’s safe and incorruptible.
Building trust is not the only benefit blockchain offers supply chains. Every time a product changes hands, the transaction is documented, creating a permanent history from manufacture to sale. The use of blockchain technology dramatically reduces the time delays, added costs and human error that plague transactions today. It allows manufacturers, shippers and customers to aggregate data, analyse trends, and perform predictive monitoring.
So it’s no wonder that blockchain technology is considered to be a game-changer for supply chains and logistics. If you’re keen to learn more about blockchain technology and how it benefits supply chains – and how we use it at CargoChain – download our latest insights paper Automating trust in the supply chain.