It is becoming increasingly apparent that supply chains across industries will be reimagined and revamped by using blockchain. This transformational technology offers a much safer and more transparent way to connect businesses and track and/or exchange any type of asset.
Blockchains offer a solution to the growing problem of managing sophisticated networks of manufacturers and suppliers. At a time when transparency, speed, cost efficiency and agility are becoming increasingly indispensable to success, innovative and smart ecosystems are emerging. These ecosystems are designed to improve transparency, security, authenticity, and auditability, which are key in effectively tracing the chain of custody and attributes of products.
Blockchain-based supply chain management systems offer a decentralized approach to data management and sharing by minimizing the involvement of intermediaries such as bankers, insurers, and brokers. In addition, these new supply chain management solutions help to establish better proof of quality, provenance, payment, and performance to minimize counterfeiting and fraud. Furthermore, blockchain technology enables time-stamping, tracking, automation of transactions, and even real-time verification and auditing.
Hercules: A tailor-made protocol for supply chains
Helping eradicate racketeering and collusion using blockchain, as is the case with the Hercules supply chain optimization solution, has the potential to revolutionize the brokering of trust and the way data is shared among parties in a supply or global value chain.
Some of the key issues that a supply chain protocol such as Hercules aims to address include:
- Standardizing data between parties
- Making simpler, faster, and cost-effective to onboard new vendors and partners through digital identification
- Reducing the costs of storing data
- Protecting sensitive data on a transparent platform
- Setting up a wide range of self-executing contracts which could potentially be utilized for automating billing or shipping processes
Decentralization: The real customer-centric approach
Managing the flow of goods and services in commerce requires tracking and documenting the movement and storage of raw materials, the work-in-process inventory, and finished goods from the point of origin to the point of consumption. Since each stop in a blockchain-based supply chain confirms that its data matches that of the stops before and after it, the adoption of these new supply chain management systems are “a way to enable customers to derive the high-quality information required to make more informed choices,” states Co-founder and CEO of Hercules SEZC, Anthem Hayek Blanchard.
As an advocate for efficient and liquid ways to buy, own and sell physical gold, Mr Blanchard, who is also CEO of precious metals dealer Anthem Vault Inc., sees the implementation of supply-chain transparency on the blockchain dramatically reducing the high initial cost-benefit ratio for participants.
Due to many of today’s supply chains being inherently complex and not adequately transparent because of a lack of interoperability, inconsistency or sometimes a simple lack of data, many of us know very little about most of the products we use every day. We are largely uninformed about the vast network of retailers, distributors, transporters, storage facilities, and suppliers that participate in design, production, delivery, and sales throughout our global value and supply chains.
Demand is increasing for supply chain transparency and for information about the connected network of individuals, organizations, resources, activities, and technologies involved in the manufacture and sale of products or services we consume. The initiatives being implemented by Hercules and other companies working to improve supply chain ecosystems will result, in the near future, in more and more people having a better understanding of the impacts the goods and services they procure or consume will have on them and their environment. This will hopefully enable people all around the world to make better decisions and help curb depletion of natural resources or prevent the worsening of environmental and social problems that pose a threat to our natural ecosystems.