Current Issues

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Turning blockchain into a real supply chain advantage

10-Apr-2018
Turning blockchain into a real supply chain advantage
Blockchain has the potential to completely transform transport and supply chain practice and financing.

The technology is gaining considerable interest due to it offering a secure, immutable and tamper-proof distributed ledger. Once a block of data has been recorded it is there in perpetuity, for all users to refer to. Information can be added but can’t be deleted retrospectively, and because the chain doesn’t reside on just one party’s systems, no single player ‘owns’ the chain. Everybody in a transaction can trust the data, rather than having to ‘trust’ an individual or organisation. The effect is not unlike the ‘chain of evidence’ that the prosecution is required to establish in criminal court cases.

Not surprisingly, blockchain is interesting supply chain players who need lasting certainty about the physical location and condition of goods, the existence and status of documentation – from proofs of delivery to customs papers and bills of lading – and to support payments and supply chain financing.

The potential of blockchain technology
Numerous major players are exploring the technology’s potential. Global logistics provider Agility, for example, is working with IBM and Maersk on solutions for global shipping. Meanwhile, The Blockchain in Transport Alliance has recently announced that OpenPort, the digital logistics platform that uses blockchain technology to transform domestic distribution in emerging markets, has joined its ranks alongside members such as UPS, FedEx and Penske. Certification companies like DNV GL are looking to employ blockchain to improve factory-consumer transparency.

As these pioneers are discovering, the challenges are not in blockchain itself, but in creating the appropriate applications.

Blockchain processes have an obvious relation to the TGMatrix intelligent freight matching solution. By definition, we are trying to facilitate near-instant contracts between parties that may never have heard of each other before, and certainly haven’t the timescale to perform ‘due diligence’.

Our clients need secure and immutable records to verify compliance, including their duties to third parties, in real time and to enable prompt payment. At present a typical supply chain bridges multiple manual systems with error-prone manual inputs. Blockchain could also bring more certainty to debt management and payment. In complex, multicurrency transactions, for example, payment can be fixed at the exchange rate of the moment.

It could revolutionise supply chain financing. For example, Proofs of Delivery and condition could trigger payment from customer to shipper and from shipper to carrier, instantly and automatically, backed by lines of credit from a finance company that themselves are verified by blockchain data. Blockchain could safely and reliably offer these processes to all scales of business rather than, as at present, only to AAA companies after months of due diligence.

TGMatrix is currently working with a leading UK university to explore how blockchain could work with our agent-based technology in the complex, real time situations experienced by our users. We believe there is huge potential to simplify, accelerate and automate business and contractual processes, and lubricate financial flows in ways that are accessible and beneficial to all sizes of company – at lower cost and with less risk.

Selecting the best Transport Management System - One of the most important logistics decisions you’ll make
6 days ago
“Digital Transformation” and Supply Chain Planning
6 days ago
Coolest Advice for Making Blockbuster IoT Devices?
6 days ago
The Fall of ‘Made in China’
1 week ago
How can artificial intelligence help the food industry?
1 week ago
Streamlining Operations With Waveless Picking
2 weeks ago
Creating a common standard for the fashion supply chain…
3 weeks ago
5 Steps to Improve Your Business’s Supply Chain
3 weeks ago
Procurement is joining the dots with technology to achieve greater strategic benefits
3 weeks ago
Don’t get red-carded shipping World Cup items into Russia
3 weeks ago
Trash talk: how waste management could become an engine for business growth
4 weeks ago
Could consumers drive a business tech revolution?
4 weeks ago
Jungheinrich Opinion: The Connected Engineer
1 month ago
Debunking the myths of the Hybrid Cloud
1 month ago
How to Future-Proof a Retail Business
1 month ago
How Enterprise Label Solutions Streamline Supply Chain Management
1 month ago
Ignorance 4.0? UK manufacturing and engineering competitiveness at risk from lack of knowledge
1 month ago
Untangling S&OP and S&OE
1 month ago
The ghosts of retail past, present and future
1 month ago
How to safeguard customer loyalty using digital platforms
1 month ago
The last mile starts with a single step
1 month ago
How citizen developers can speed up business app development
1 month ago
RFID – The missing link in customer insight
1 month ago
Achieving a Sustainability-Centric Retail Model
1 month ago
Gartner Says Global IT Spending to Grow 6.2 Per Cent in 2018
1 month ago
Monster opportunity: the Vampire Economy will take wings this year with late night deliveries
1 month ago
Falsified Medicines Directive: What are the practical considerations for wholesalers and Logistics Partners?
1 month ago
UK manufacturing sees solid growth in March
1 month ago
Elevating IT in financial services
1 month ago
The best, not the biggest
1 month ago
Addressing SME GDPR Misperceptions
1 month ago
What it’s like to be a woman in logistics
1 month ago
Building the Business Case for Digital Transformation of Supply Chain Planning
1 month ago
Is artificial intelligence fiction or fad?
1 month ago
Ecommerce Returns Best Practice: How to minimise Lost Profits and maximise Customer Satisfaction
1 month ago
How the connected distribution centres are helping organisations keep consumer demand at bay
1 month ago
Latest ONS figures show online stores continue to eat the High Street’s lunch’, says ParcelHero
1 month ago
SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud: A Strong Pillar of SAP’s Strategy
2 months ago
Food for thought: time to trim the waste line
2 months ago
Redefining supply chain visibility
2 months ago
Questions to ask yourself before investing in business management software
2 months ago
How the Tariffs Will Impact Supply Chain Execution
2 months ago
Ethics and the supply chain
2 months ago
Spring Statement Summary – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
2 months ago
Four ways the UK retail supply chain differs from the rest of Europe
2 months ago
What Is Planning?
2 months ago
Only 6% of companies believe they've achieved full supply chain visibility
2 months ago
Why are some businesses slipping up when it comes to Health and Safety?
2 months ago
End the tax attacks: ParcelCompare calls for sanity as US-EU trade war escalates
2 months ago