Records of contracts and transactions are at the heart of business. To be of any use, records must be created only after identities and timeline of events are established and verified. This part of business has mostly escaped the economy's digital transformation. Blockchain promises to solve this problem. The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record any transactions efficiently, verifiably and permanently. The ledger itself can also be programmed to trigger transactions if pre-agreed upon conditions are met.
Blockchain technology makes sure that every record in a shared ledger: every process, every task, every payment has a digital signature that could be identified, validated, stored, and shared and could not be altered. Moreover, attempt to temper an existing record renders it invalid. This is the immense potential of blockchain.
The supply chain is by definition a network of companies that collectively work on a product, starting from raw materials end ending with the finished product sold to the end customer. Through various stages of production components and intermediate products are transferred from one supply chain link (company) to the next. The production process, including product movement through the manufacturing process steps, and from one company to the next is naturally aligned with the linked blockchain transactions.
For many years we have been working with manufacturing and food processing clients on inventory management and traceability solutions. Our new traceability solution, Shared Traceability, is a simple solution that
- Requires no setup
- Allows employees to collect any required data using mobile devices, and
- Uses blockchain technology so that necessary traceability information can be shared with supply chain partners
- Record everything that happens with the product batch, serialized inventory or an asset as blockchain transaction
- Record producing or receiving components and raw material batches
- Record product movement through the production process
- Record building of assemblies, generic and serialized
- Record products conversions and splitting during the manufacturing process
- Record observations during the process stages (various measurements, what was done, etc.)
- Enter any information you need into the system
- Do all tracking on the shop floor, using mobile devices for barcode / QR code scanning and data entry
- All information submitted from the mobile devices is immediately available to all authorized users
- Review details and the entire history of each product batch by scanning QR code, or via the web dashboard
- Review composition of each product batch, drill down through sub-assemblies to individual products, review all history and data for each with one click
- Quickly find where a specific product lot had been used, and where it was distributed
- Invite downstream and upstream supply chain partners to join the network, and share traceability information across the entire supply chain channel
- Optionally let an end user to scan QR code and review a "product story"
- Use together with QR Inventory for more comprehensive internal inventory management and traceability, or as a stand alone traceability solution.
Currently, the vast majority of companies are using their own internal ERP and inventory management systems. There is no transparency. Traceability is, at best, limited to a single company. Blockchain technology solves these problems by enabling end-to-end product traceability, where each company can enter its own data and access an entire traceability trail. Prior to blockchain, integrity of the system that is not entirely under your control was an important and valid concern when it comes to a single traceability system for the entire supply chain network. Immutability (if you can't change it, it's immutable) and tamper-proof nature of the blockchain alleviates this concern.