The landscape of supply chain has evolved in the past few years after the introduction of new technologies and internet-based software. The advanced analytics and modern solutions have enabled enterprises to optimize their shipment performance, product tracking and traceability. Businesses are now looking at blockchain to significantly expand the value of their supply chain operations. Unlike earlier, blockchain is now not only limited to digital imagination; its impact is also being felt in countless other fields, including supply chain management.
According to Erwin Matthijssen, Partner at M3 Consultancy, blockchain is a perfect “smart spreadsheet” for the supply chain industry because of its immutability, verifiability, and disintermediation features. He adds that in contrast to a spreadsheet, in blockchain, information can only be added, but not edited or removed; the cryptography-based technology allows changes in any document or file only with the consent of the constituting members. So even in the case of an error in the chain with one of the nodes in the network going down, the system can still function. Besides, as every single change in the data store is visible, if a participant decides to change data, that alteration would be visible to everyone and can be checked by every other participant.
Experts believe that one of the biggest issues faced by supply chain companies is lack of transparency, but with blockchain this can be tackled. As per an article by the Harvard Business Review, the way transactions are recorded and tracked using blockchain technology, makes it almost effortless to see everything happening on the smart spreadsheet in real time. In addition, it enables every participant to check the general and public distributed ledger and also gives updates on what is happening, every step of the way. A blockchain system also helps keep all members of the network accountable for their end of the bargain.
Other benefits that blockchain brings to supply chain are—it reduces inaccuracies, miscalculations, delays and frauds, and enhances inventory management while solving problems faster. It also improves operation flow by reducing validation times for transactions between providers and clients.