Traceability, Transparency, and Other Benefits of Using Blockchain Solutions for the Supply Chain
David Fairnie, Principal Consultant Supply Chain Security, and Paul Raw, Senior Consultant Supply Chain Security
BSI’s experts David Fairnie, Principal Consultant Supply Chain Security, and Paul Raw, Senior Consultant Supply Chain Security, have experience incorporating blockchain solutions in the supply chain for organizations in numerous sectors. Below they outline how this can increase traceability, transparency in the supply chain, and what other benefits this brings.
When businesses grow, the need to keep the supply chain secure and scalable grows equally fast. At the same time, several common challenges become more important to solve, such as poorly managed inventory and keeping track of the work done by distribution subcontractors. Goods can get lost or damaged, while there often is no way of knowing exactly when and where issues are explicitly occurring in the supply chain.
Many organizations, especially in emerging economies, often have ineffective and poorly managed systems for controlling and monitoring their product stock inventory through the supply chain and monitoring risk mitigation measures.
BSI’s experts David Fairnie, Principal Consultant Supply Chain Security and Paul Raw, Senior Consultant Supply Chain Security, have worked with organizations in numerous sectors to bring trust and traceability into their supply chain using a technical solution underpinned by blockchain. We outline the main takeaways based on their experience that are useful for any business or organization looking to incorporate blockchain technology to increase traceability into their supply chains.
BSI partners with Tracelabs to Build Blockchain Solutions
Since 2019, BSI has partnered with Tracelabs to develop and provide various solutions to increase visibility and ensure security to the supply chain. The BSI and Trace Labs partnership has successfully deployed these technologies in the food and retail sectors. They recently executed a pilot project with an NGO to increase visibility and improve the security of donated pharmaceutical products in their supply chain.
All Tracelabs solutions are built on an open-source origin trail protocol that enables secure and scalable data exchange across the supply chain. Data is stored on a decentralized network that allows scalability and flexibility around data privacy and utilizes global standards for data such as GS1 and Nexus. The information is securely linked to provide an end to end view of goods moving through the distribution chain.
This data serves as a powerful base for numerous business applications such as validating certifications, compliance checks and tracking goods. That allows goods to reach their destination securely and safely, even in the most complex environments.
How Blockchain Benefits Numerous Components of the Supply Chain
Capturing accurate data, particularly in remote areas in emerging economies, is a challenge many organizations face. This can be the result of technological issues, cultural differences, or simply because procedures within a country do not apply to the standards of your organization. At the same time, files or reports can be incomplete or go missing. In many instances, the integrity of the information gathered isn’t guaranteed, which offers the opportunity for manipulation and diversion of products from the supply chain.
Blockchain technology provides a secure end-to-end traceable and transparent supply chain because it offers reliable details in real-time on timing, locations, quantities, product condition and, in the case of medical materials for individual patients being transported, patient utilization levels. In addition, there is the option to include the Internet of Things (IoT), which allows us to integrate more beneficial elements such as temperature reporting or GPS locating.
This minimizes or even removes the opportunity for diversions by nefarious supply chain actors, who could falsely report products are accurately in stock while the goods are being diverted into the black market.
Every time a product exchanges hands, it can be scanned by a mobile phone application. The product information is shared and viewable in real-time on a Decentralized Knowledge Graph (DKG). The recent pilot project showed that end to end digitally enhanced supply chain comes with important advantages. Everyone within the supply chain, who has access rights, has information on where the products are and where they are moving to, which helps with effective risk management, logistics decision-making and patient utilization. Any issues can be reported on and solved quickly.
An Effective Reporting Tool That Can Prevent Counterfeiting and Increase Patient Safety
Having accurate data on inventory, stock levels, distribution operations, and utilization levels is an effective tool against counterfeiting and patient safety assurance. If the product packaging was to turn up somewhere else, or if the packaging is damaged, or if any other signs of counterfeiting are present, these can be immediately captured and reported. At the same time, waste of products and potential patient safety issues can be mitigated as the technology solution and DKG track product expiration dates.
It also becomes much more effective for businesses to comply with Good Distribution Practices and standards because they can save on audits and manual surveillance costs. At the same time, it becomes much easier to have uniform reports throughout the supply chain for stakeholders, customers or business partners.
In summary, the technological solutions that Fairnie and Raw are providing can effectively provide end to end traceability and transparency to the supply chain, reduce security and counterfeiting threats, increase patient safety levels and reduce regulatory compliance costs.
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