Blockchain Use Case Exploration: How Distributed Ledger’s Benefit Supply Chain Management
It is already a well-known fact that blockchain technology has a near-unlimited amount of use cases which go far beyond just being a technology for cryptocurrency support and development. Blockchain's capabilities revolve around storing information and protecting it from being changed or manipulated. Considering how information is the most valuable currency today, it is understandable why every industry out there sees the tremendous potential of the new technology.
While most of the blockchain's use cases and applications remain theoretical at this time, there are several areas where real breakthroughs and successful implementations were already observed. The most talked-about of such areas is supply chain management.
Supply Chain Management Issues
Supply chain management has been something that technology, as well as numerous firms out there, have been trying to tackle for a long time. It got to a point where a combination of human and computing assets managed to track the goods on their way from producer to customers, with numerous stops along the way which would report the progress. The main idea behind the process is to provide the customer with a chain of possession which would be updated as the goods are making their progress towards reaching the customer.
However, the process is far from being perfect, and the results reached with pre-blockchain technology was flawed, with no ways of improving it further. A single error while entering the product's data could result in the goods never arriving at a location. Sometimes it is not the human error that causes the problem, but an attempt at fraud, such as the producer sending their product to another country where the product receives slight changes and is then shipped to the customer. This is often done to avoid tariffs that burden the original country, but not the second one. However, the pre-blockchain supply chain does not know this, which leads to a number of different problems.
Then, there is the human error, which can lead to complications such as shipping the wrong product or mistakenly entering the wrong amount of the product. It is even possible for the product to be scanned, but not sent to the customer due to a simple error.
However, since the blockchain emerged, and its additional use cases started being discovered, the situation has changed. The new technology does not depend on the human element at all anymore, while the computing element has been significantly improved, and the possibility of an error got massively reduced. Furthermore, due to the fact that the information stored on blockchain cannot be changed, manipulated, or even deleted — scams, smuggling, and theft of products are completely out of the question. At least, if someone attempts to do it, the issue will be immediately recognized, and the investigation can be started.
Blockchain can even be used for transporting food and groceries, and ensure that the customers are aware of the products' origins, freshness, and the entire journey that the food made from the supplier to their own hands.
Companies are Trying to Resolve the Problems Via Blockchain
The issues with the supply chain management have been known for a long time, and as soon as the blockchain technology showed a potential to solve them, multiple blockchain-based companies started exploring its use cases.
Waltonchain is one such project, and it is developed by Korean and Chinese developers. The goal of the project is to combine blockchain with radio-frequency identification and improve the supply management through a combination of blockchain and IoT devices. Many of the companies that are trying to tackle the issues of supply chain management have started combining IoT and blockchain, thus creating a network of devices that share information which cannot be altered or deleted.
Another company that is trying to solve the problems of the supply chain is Wabi. Wabi takes a different approach, and it aims to improve the security of blockchain, as well as its ability to authenticate goods. The end goal is to prevent users from harm, or even death, due to counterfeit products. Their way of doing this is to place anti-counterfeit labels on the goods, which will show the customers that the product is what it claims to be. The product can then be purchased via Wabi token.
VeChain is also using the blockchain to address concerns of each sector and provide the best solution that they can. One of the biggest concerns is food safety, which is crucial when it comes to imported food products. Companies are troubled by issues such as counterfeiting in these cases as well, and they wish to use blockchain to be more effective at tracking the products and ensure their authenticity.
Blockchain technology use cases appear to be limitless, although it is unclear how many of them will end up becoming a reality. Some of them cannot be achieved because the technology is simply not mature enough as of yet. Others may have multiple other obstacles along their way. Whatever the case may be, blockchain is slowly starting to change the world, and supply chain management is among the first sectors that are beginning to rely on it.
If the adoption of blockchain continues, it is more than likely that a number of different use cases will become a reality, and that the very nature of some businesses will evolve into something new, transparent, fast, and safe.