Tamir Baasanjav, CEO
While organizations across industries are flourishing by tightening the loose ends in the operations using digital tools, the supply-chain industry is still plagued with several technical inefficiencies due to reliance on legacy systems. For data exchange, supply chain companies still use manual, time-consuming, and paper-driven processes, which not only creates mistrust but also adds significantly to the overall cost. For instance, in Mongolia, coal transporters need to transship their cargo to areas near ports for customs inspection and clearance due to fragmented information sharing and mistrust among the supply chain actors. Along with adding to the overall cost, the transshipment also negatively impacts the surroundings. Besides, even for normal freight, a customer support agent for a freight forwarder may have to make up to five calls to different parties to answer a simple location question, including carrier, trucking operator, and rail operator. The World Economic Forum estimates that document processing accounts for 20 percent of the total transportation costs within global trade.
As the notion for transparency and fair trade is gaining prominence among the supply chain stakeholders, the Estonia-based OBORTECH comes to the fore with IoT and blockchain-based digital ecosystem—Smart Hub. The ecosystem facilitates seamless information flow and decentralized control, real-time shipment visibility, and product traceability among all the actors involved in the supply chain process—from production site to warehouse until it reaches the end-users—for enhanced visibility. The Smart Hub allows all the concerned stakeholders to actively participate in all the supply chain activities to gain end-to-end control over the information flow. “Our platform is a decentralized and democratic digital ecosystem that favors all actors in supply chain regardless of their size and IT capability,” states Tamir Baasanjav, CEO of OBORTECH.
Transforming the Supply Chain
The motive behind OBORTECH’s Smart Hub was to transform the supply chain system with an integrated information ecosystem that includes access to real-time data and analytics and greater shipment visibility. The platform offers around-the-clock accessibility by enabling users to connect through cloud-based web and mobile applications and APIs. This allows all the involved parties to share information, collaborate, conduct data analysis, and validate product traceability in real-time. With real-time visibility, several disputes due to inconsistent data sharing can be solved, enhancing trust between the supply chain parties.
Our platform is a decentralized and democratic digital ecosystem that favors all actors in the supply chain regardless of their size and IT capability
More importantly, there is no capital expenditure (CAPEX) required for leveraging Smart Hub services, enabling organizations to use the platform with their existing infrastructure.
Moreover, using blockchain-powered version control, the Smart Hub allows secure sharing and exchanging documents with supply chain partners. Also, due to the blockchain’s immutability feature, no single party can make any changes, and all the authorized parties to any shipment can immediately see when changes have been made and by whom, along a shipment journey. This solves the visibility conundrum for the supply chain, permitting authorized parties to review the status of the critical shipping documents and advise the vendors to take any actions needed to maintain required delivery date. “We do not store any data on our servers, and all the data is distributed among the participating members in the chain, which not only creates the necessary trust between parties but also eliminates any risk of tampering with the data,” informs Tamir Baasanjav. To improve transparency and trust between supply chain parties, OBORTECH installs sensors on containers and trucks using IoT technology, which transmit data to the Smart Hub dashboard. The sensors track valuable shipments, monitor their critical physical measurements, and protect high-value products against theft. Tamir Baasanjav explains, “Our sensors act as a single source of truth that can track temperature, humidity inside the containers and can also track any shock during the journey. Any deviation to specified conditions results in raising of alarm, which ensures optimum monitoring of the cargo without the involvement of any third-party.” Further, if a container is opened during a shipment before arriving at its destination, OBORTECH’s ambient light sensors can transmit an alert to a client, protecting high-value products against theft.
Creating a Facebook-like Digital Ecosystem
The goal of OBORTECH is to create a transparent and fair marketplace among the Smart Hub participants using the blockchain-based trusted network. Any new participation to the network will be based on invitations by existing members to create a distributed approval process. Using the member’s supply chain provenance data and shipment histories registered on the network, the marketplace will enable verification and rating of stakeholders in the supply chain without the need for third-party credentials. This will allow suppliers and buyers to make data-driven decisions, filtering out risky participants based on the automatic rating system analyzed through past performances and transaction histories. “We want to create a simple and easy-to-use fully digital network like Facebook in supply chain that everyone has equal participation rights, controls their own data, decides whom they want to connect, shares information remotely in unified format, receives real-time notifications, and gets valued based on their performance histories verified by other members in the network instead of complex procedures by single organization,” explains Tamir Baasanjav.
Adding Value for All Supply Chain Players
Along with buyers and suppliers, Smart Hub’s reliable and real-time information can also help transporters to improve their operational efficiencies and cut unnecessary costs. Even the regulators can greatly benefit from the platform’s visibility, as it will allow them to plan and manage risks. As the data provided by the platform has no chances of data manipulation, financial institutions can also use it for risk analysis. Additionally, they can also process payments and documents faster using the smart contract technology of blockchain.
OBORTECH’s clients that include suppliers, producers, merchants, transporters, logistic companies, end-users, insurance, and financial institutions engaged in supply chain and trade finance processes, can leverage Smart Hub to improve their efficiency. The company is currently working with meat exporters and regulators in Mongolia to make the process a fully digital solution that will allow all actors to remotely access same information flow on its Smart Hub platform. Going forward, OBORTECH plans to enter intra-Europe and Europe-Asia inland transportation markets of perishable and sensitive products.