Depending on the product, the supply chain journey for just one item can now span over hundreds of stages with the process including multiple geographical locations, several individuals and entities involved, and extended periods of time. In order to keep up with this evolving market and to improve on the existing processes, the shipping and logistics industry is constantly searching for new technologies. But with end consumers expressing again and again the desire to know the journey their product has made from ‘cradle to grave’, it has become a priority for companies to explore which innovative solution will ensure they’re not only innovating the logistics of their business, but providing full visibility of all aspects in the supply chain.
Blockchain can help fill in all the gaps of a product’s journey – where unknown material suppliers can register their item by using RFID, a QR code or other such systems, and it then can be tracked as it goes through all the processes and logistical stages until it ends up in the consumer’s hands. This ability to hold very rich data will give companies a market advantage, as they will be able to provide consumers with an added depth of product information. Using this technology to track a cotton product for example, would give organisations the ability to show consumers every touch point from the cotton farmer’s profile to the factory address, the vessel name, the freight provider and the garment mileage. As a result of applying all these technological practices, companies will be able to reinforce the credentials of their supply chain, guarantee their credibility as an ethical, sustainable brand and instill more consumer confidence.
There is no doubt that blockchain technology is having a big impact on the industry. And those companies who embrace it will be able to better address some of the current issues dominating the field, build a trustworthy relationship with their customer, and positively transform their logistics processes for the better.