From our pen’s nib to giant earth scavenging vehicles, we all are nothing without our logistics industry. Talk about bringing our fresh veggies from farm to our plates or sending precious artwork to an art collector sitting on the other side of the world, the entire world runs on the logistics industry. But, have you ever imagined how the logistics industry has evolved over the years with technology? And how technologies like Blockchain bring some positive shifts in the logistics industry?
Let’s understand the logistics industry first. Logistics means to run the operation of moving the material from one point to another while meeting all the requirements of parties at both ends. This includes material handling, packaging, transportation, warehousing, insurance and security of the goods.
Evolution of the logistics industry with Technologies
Logistic industry isn’t a thing of yesterday. Since the inception of goods and services, production and distribution requirements of people around the world have picked up. The logistics industry is implementing technologies for ages. Not only modern vehicles and planning software, logistics industry infarct is one of the biggest consumers of high-end technologies.
Talk about using warehouse management systems, advanced vehicles & vehicle tracking systems, IoT with accurate RFID tracking, etc. are already in place to make it robust and secure. But, when we talk about relatively new technologies like Blockchain, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence; a lot of digital transformation is yet to happen here.
There are many applications there in the market, which includes multi-device warehouse apps, delivery & tracking applications, fare charge calculations, freight forwarding documentation apps and more. But, they all mostly work in different environments and a lot of human effort is needed to take advantage of the process.
How does the Logistic industry work?
In theory, the logistics industry between the two countries typically works in the following order:
Now, in this entire process, at every stage, a lot of documentation is needed. While each and every process is handled by different parties involved in it, discrepancies and change in the document or goods are quite possible. This leads to a lot of confusion in the system and therefore wastage of time and reduced transparency.
Then, how can a digital ledger, or Blockchain, save this?
Blockchain + Logistics Industry
Blockchain is a distributed ledger system that records transactions between nodes in a secure and permanent block. In layman’s terms, Blockchain is a digital ledger that shares databases between end-users and removes the dependencies of agencies working in between those gaps, where a breach is possible. As both the end-users have the power to validate the data, a complete end to end process is both trustworthy and reliable.
While Blockchain is leading us to a BFSI revolution by cutting the traditional cost of money transfers and ability to do micro transfers, in Logistics, Blockchain gives power to the consumers to make their buying decisions about the products they want to buy. Here are the benefits of Using Blockchain into the logistics system:
With blockchain, logistics contracts can implement smart contracts for each batch of their shipping goods. For example, if someone using logistical software and integrate a smart contract, they would be able to add access points where the data would get calibrated and checked by automated system checkers. If all the items are going good and system passes the test, smart contracts would validate it and let the further process go ahead including payments and handing over the goods to the user at the other end.
What Blockchain would bring to the table for logistics?
Not only the final supply chain, but Blockchain-based ledger would also be able to give all the data about insurance, brokerage, legal documentation and shipping services. Blockchain can be used to track the entire product life-cycle and goods’ ownership change from the supplying to receiving authorities. This not only increases the relationship between the supplier and the end participant.
Blockchain helps to trace all the legal and payment transactions within the process, which ultimately increase the efficiency of the system.
Logistics is an integral part of the supply chain management systems, when we talk about the transparency, entire picture becomes bigger for every industry and end-user associated with it. Organizations across the globe are adopting blockchain technology in their supply chain system.
As blockchain is a digital ledger, it keeps track of every transaction taking place from the beginning of sourcing the items, manufacturing and shipping. The end-user would be able to track the flow and can analyse the data about the product they are purchasing.
Empowers modern businesses
Minor updates in manufacturing patterns, transport operators, warehousing agents, retailers and last-mile delivery, everything can be traced into the virtual ledger. This means, using Blockchain-based virtual currencies can be used for payment transactions across the countries.
With Blockchain, digital identities and tamper-proof documentation can be maintained. Which gives power to the digitally transformed businesses to take advantage of this technology.
As we saw that there is a lot of manual documentation and process involved in handling logistics of the goods, a smart contract developed by Blockchain can come to the rescue. You can simply build smart contracts that would guide the entire process of handling payments, legal contracts & documentation with self-executing and authorizing processes.
They would be created by involving each stakeholder’s agreed rules and process stages to improve the entire process.
Unlike traditional ledgers, Blockchain-based virtual ledgers would provide more security against any data breaches or involved parties would not be able to make any changes in the system.
Also, Blockchain allows single-point access to check the ledger, all the stakeholders would be able to see the transaction and processes. That increases security and transparency!
So, overall, already a technically focused industry getting even better by implementing blockchain is a win-win situation for everyone. Also, if the logistic industry works well, all the end users would benefit out of it. For a broader impact, Blockchain adoption is the way to go.