Blockchains use distributed ledger technology to create a permanent and shared record of every transaction associated with an asset. Each record is time-stamped and attached to the event before it. Blockchains are changing our perception on a few key supply chain areas including traceability, optimization and demand.
Blockchains can reveal where an asset is at any point in time, who is handling it, and what state it’s in. Furthermore, blockchains show the asset’s history of where it has been.
Another great benefit with blockchains is that exporters, importers, banks, shippers, and government agencies can conduct transactions securely on single and permissioned blockchain network with minimal changes to their existing systems. Visibility combined with targeted access allows these involved parties to plan and manage inventory, reduce waste and perform quality controls.
Blockchain Traceability in the Food Supply Chain
When applied to the food supply chain, product information such as farm origination, batch numbers, processing data, expiration dates, storage temperatures and shipping details are digitally connected to food items.
With the ease of blockchain traceability you could track a raw ingredient along it’s path:
The product details are entered into the blockchain with each step of the process.
Document digitization in the food supply chain enables digital tracing and authenticating food products. Even prior to the item arriving to the factory, managers are able to access information such as whether it has been genetically modified and then plan accordingly.
As an international food supply chain runs its course, dozens if not hundreds of paper documents are created. These documents need to be reviewed, stamped, and signed by numerous agencies and human error is inevitable. A mistake on these physical documents creates delays on shipments or payments. Shipment delays with the food supply chain can be detrimental for perishable goods. By removing physical paper transfers, blockchain reduces risks of loss or delays.