How Blockchain is Changing the Supply Chain Landscape

Author: Rene Garcia


Avetta has always believed that having as much quality information as possible is key to making the best decisions for your supply chain. And we’ve always strived to develop solutions that make it easy to vet contractors, vendors, and suppliers. Even so, supply chains can still have blind spots, like whether or not your supplier has sent a full order, or if logistics are running on time. Typically, there is a delay in getting this information – sometimes too late to react to it – but what if you could have this data almost the instant the event occurred? How much better would your decision making be? Blockchain could be the solution that brings these hypotheticals into reality.

What is Blockchain?

Essentially, a blockchain is a database that is distributed to every member on a specific network which comprises the blockchain. Whereas in a traditional network, users might connect to a shared database on a central computer, in a blockchain, that central computer doesn’t exist. Instead, the database exists on all computers on the network and can be updated in real-time. Because of its decentralized nature, the blockchain cannot be controlled by any single member. Additionally, it has no single point of failure. And because everyone in the blockchain has access to the exact same information, the blockchain is transparent and highly resistant to corruption.

How Can Blockchain Benefit Supply Chains?

Originally developed for Bitcoin and used by other cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology has obvious and practical uses in situations that require visibility across several entities, like supply chains. For instance, when a supply chain forms a blockchain it can tell you all of the relevant real-time details of a required asset, like who the shipper is and what phase of logistics the asset is in. This allows you – and others in the supply chain – to better predict when the shipment will arrive and in what condition. With this extra visibility, the entire supply chain can reduce waste with just-in-time planning and accurate inventory management.

Blockchains also allow for greater traceability of goods. Most of the time, you will want to know when goods are arriving, but sometimes it’s necessary to know where goods have been. For instance, in the case of a food scare where possibly contaminated produce must be pulled from the shelves, the supply chain needs to know every touchpoint for that product, how it was handled, who handled it, and more to identify where the contamination could have occurred. Blockchains can make this identification much quicker than before since all that historical data is available to every member of the supply chain due to the distributed database. Having this level of transparency with all suppliers increases accountability and creates trust across the supply chain because everyone can see what every partner is doing.

Taking Advantage of Blockchain Technology

Avetta is already working to leverage blockchain technology and develop solutions that enable organizations to streamline their supply chains. As our network of suppliers continues to expand we believe blockchain technology will help to support data accuracy and traceability, and provide our customers with powerful reporting and analytics.

Learn more about how Avetta's Supply Chain Software helps businesses identify and mitigate risk within their supply chain.

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