“This town ain’t big enough for the two of us” is a quote that is so overused and ingrained in American culture that most people don’t know where it originated from. (The answer is Owen Wister’s 1903 Western dime-novel The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains.) The quote could also describe the current mentality surrounding blockchain applications within supply chain. A shared belief that there can only be “one” blockchain company.
In reality, blockchain has the potential to change the way we do business so that any number of companies can coexist and collaborate in the same space. With the global blockchain market expected to be worth $20 billion by 2024, there’s plenty to go around. For example, here are some of the influential blockchain utilities coming to the forefront of supply chain.
Tracking and transparency
A product’s journey from manufacturer to shopper is often incredibly fragmented, exchanging hands with multiple companies and carriers. The tracking process has become hard to manage at scale. The process gets even more complicated when involving multiple modes of transportation and varying provisions. In fact, companies are building what they call a “Trace & Track” solution that will solve the old way by allowing “for unified tracking across the entire supply chain, between all carriers.” Ethereum blockchain or a side chain eternally records the shipment tracking, so there is never any question of what happened to a product or the status of an order.
The FDA defines their data integrity standards using an acronym called ALCOA – attributable, legible, contemporaneous, original, accurate. It implies that data must be reliable and accurate for the duration of its lifecycle. Unfortunately, data integrity has become a major issue in recent years for companies. Additionally, the number of data sources one supply chain company may be drawing from puts them at serious risk for data tampering.
Blockchain updates and validates transactions via established B2B technologies like EDI and XML on a digital shared ledger. Overall, this means each transaction is validated by a network consensus of every trading partner involved. Each party has access to the data without any possibility of tampering, resulting in more secure data and B2B interactions. As a result, some general blockchain providers are helping companies start their move to blockchain. They’re able to do so by providing a central environment for these established forms of B2B transactions to combine with newer blockchain engagement models.
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This post first appeared on SupplyPike CEO Dan Sanker’s LinkedIn.