Supply chain industry is the backbone of any country’s economy. This is one of the sectors where blockchain has been heavily deployed. Modern-day supply chain ecosystem is quite complex with many entities involved in the process, this results in lower efficiency and higher running costs. Introduction of blockchain has made the process feasible and more efficient while reducing costs by cutting the middle-men.
Reports had revealed that $450 billion in logistics-related costs could be saved from Western Europe alone if blockchain technology is applied. The report also mentions how this blockchain transformation can pay for itself:
“94% of supply chain leaders say digital transformation will fundamentally alter supply chain management. In the transition to industry 4.0, an industrial business can expect a 25% gross increase in [Return on Capital Employed] by 2035.”
Walmart is one of the big names that have been deploying blockchain technology on a large-scale. With the help of IBM’s Food Trust, the retail giant is tracking a variety of items from the farm to the shelves of Walmart.
IBM’s food traceability platform went live after 18 months of testing and has been developed for retailers, wholesalers, and suppliers. The cost of running this is pretty cheap with a price tag of $100 per month for small businesses, $1000 for medium businesses and $10,000 for business giants.
With the implementation of this platform, Walmart was able to trace the source of food within 2.2 seconds. This is a drastic difference considering the fact that earlier it took close to 7 days. This enhances food safety and creates a completely transparent supply chain.
Walmart has also asked its suppliers to start implementing blockchain technology; this has provided great exposure to the blockchain industry. This initiative came shortly after Walmart sent a letter to its suppliers detailing the multi-state outbreak that had taken resulted in 210 confirmed cases of E.coli with 96 people being hospitalized and 5 people passing away.
During the E.coli outbreak, retail grocers suffered losses as they had to dispose of large amounts of romaine lettuce as they couldn’t be sure if the lettuce they received was indeed contaminated or not.
Besides this, Walmart China, in partnership with the CCFA (China Chain-Store & Franchise Association), PwC, Inner Mongolia Kerchin Co. Ltd., and VeChain, created a traceability platform on the VeChainThor blockchain. This new food traceability system can supposedly track more than 30 product categories. By scanning the product, customers are able to access various data related to the items.
On the innovative side, Walmart had filed a patent for a new drone-based delivery system. The platform stores and encrypts operational parameters that can be shared among the drones creating a complex vehicle-to-vehicle communication system. This would be the foundation of something that allows unmanned Arial deliveries in a systematic manner.
Walmart is one of the key players transforming the modern retail supply chain industry while paving a road for other retail giants to come through. Other big names include Nestlé and Carrefour implementing IBM’s food traceability to track the authenticity of a range of baby milk products.
Blockchain is showing immense potential and transforming industries for the better. This emerging technology will have a huge impact on the supply chain system and multiple other sectors over the coming years. These transformations will not be possible overnight, but at its current pace, it won’t take much longer either.