Supply chain use cases for Blockchain apply from the origin of monitoring and verification of manufacturing or production, Inventory management & asset tracking, vendor payments to regulatory audit & security functions and its application to the food, pharmaceuticals, automobile and several other industries. In today’s world, supply chain involves large networks of disparate partners that need to manage through complexity of diverse digital distribution models and global networks. The Blockchain technology is ideally suited for establishing a shared, immutable record of all the transactions that take place within a network, enabling permissioned parties to access and perform the required functions in real-time using secured data stored on the Blockchain (IBM News Room, 2019).
In the supply chain sector, there are numerous use cases where Blockchain serves as a scalable and decentralized solution. Below are a few examples:
- The TradeLens platform (Maersk, n.d.)has been jointly developed by Maersk and IBM. TradeLens is an open and neutral industry Blockchain based platform. It is a Blockchain supported by major players across the global shipping industry and promotes the efficient, transparent and secure exchange of information to foster greater collaboration and trust across the global supply. Maersk, (n.d.) claims that “with five of the world’s six largest carriers committed to the platform, not to mention many other ecosystem participants, we can collectively accelerate that transformation to provide greater trust, transparency and collaboration across supply chains and help promote global trade”. Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, Global Industries, Clients, Platforms & Blockchain, IBM mentioned that “Blockchain for the enterprise is solving previously unsolvable problems” and that “through improved trust, simplicity and improved insight into provenance, Blockchain solutions such as TradeLens are delivering proven value across business processes for our clients and their ecosystems. Massive new efficiencies in global trade are now possible and we’re seeing similar effects across the food industry, mining, trade finance, banking and other industries where the value of Blockchain is more apparent than ever before” (A/S, 2019)
- The Chinese branch of Walmart and VeChain have teamed up on PwC Blockchain Safety Platform to address tracking of food, to allow Walmart China’s Chinese customers get detailed information such as the location and source of the product by scanning them with their smartphone. Such information will become publicly available knowledge, as well as its inspection reports and travel to the supermarket (Ilija M., 2019)
- Air Canada is investigating DLT for the distribution of travel products.
- Swissport, a cargo handling company, is also launching Blockchain project for its business, service distribution and logistics. Florian Eggenschwiler, Head of Swissport’s innovation unit expects to see lasting benefits from this technology for fragmented global industries like aviation services and supply chain (Bentley, 2018).
- UAE demonstrated the successful deployment of a Blockchain-based solution which enables consumers to track and trace halal products in an attempt to overcome some of these difficulties. HalalChain serves to increase transparency and traceability in Islamic financial products and services, halal and healthy products, Zakat donations, heritage and property registration, cultural communication etc. through Blockchain technology into for the Halal supply chain and Islamic financial industry (HLC Blockchain, 2018).
- AgriDigital is building integrated Blockchain based solutions to allow all the players across the agricultural supply chain such as farmers, buyers, storage operators. They claim that, infuture their consumers will be able to operate and interact on a common platform for the transaction of their commodities the world over with full confidence. Their idea is to provide payment security and transparency for all participants, proving product integrity and move from the disconnected and siloed supply chains of today to the value chains of tomorrow (AgriDigital, 2019).
- Everledger a Blockchain and Smart Contracts based a platform engages all industry participants including manufacturers, retailers and consumers to know a diamond’s story from the origin to the end customer to demonstrate authenticity, transparency, and provenance. It also helps in reducing risk and fraud in banks, insurers and open marketplaces (Everledger, 2018)
AgriDigital (2019) AgriDigital – Blockchain [Online]. Available at https://www.agridigital.io/products/blockchain (Accessed 4 July 2019).
A/S, A. P. M.-M. (2019) TradeLens Blockchain-Enabled Digital Shipping Platform Continues Expansion With Addition of Major Ocean Carriers Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express [Online]. Available at http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/07/02/1877150/0/en/TradeLens-Blockchain-Enabled-Digital-Shipping-Platform-Continues-Expansion-With-Addition-of-Major-Ocean-Carriers-Hapag-Lloyd-and-Ocean-Network-Express.html (Accessed 6 July 2019).
Bentley, D. (2018) ‘Swissport Explores Blockchain Potential for Airport Services’, Blockchain News [Online]. Available at https://www.the-blockchain.com/2018/06/01/swissport-explores-blockchain-potential-for-airport-services/ (Accessed 6 July 2019).
Everledger (2018) Everledger – Do You Know Your Diamond? [Online]. Available at https://secure.livechatinc.com/ (Accessed 6 July 2019).
HLC BlockChain (2018) Halalchain | HLC [Online]. Available at https://hlc.com/halalchain/ (Accessed 6 July 2019).
IBM News Room (2019) Maersk and IBM Introduce TradeLens Blockchain Shipping Solution [Online]. Available at https://newsroom.ibm.com/2018-08-09-Maersk-and-IBM-Introduce-TradeLens-Blockchain-Shipping-Solution (Accessed 3 July 2019).
Ilija M. (2019) The Chinese Branch Of Walmart And VeChain Team Up On PwC Blockchain Safety Platform [Online]. Available at https://cryptomaniaks.com/walmart-china-vechain-pwc-blockchain-food-safety (Accessed 6 July 2019).
Maersk (n.d.) TradeLens blockchain-enabled digital shipping platform continues expansion with addition of major ocean carriers Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express [Online]. Available at https://www.maersk.com/news/articles/2019/07/02/hapag-lloyd-and-ocean-network-express-join-tradelens (Accessed 6 July 2019).