How Blockchain Tech is Bringing Transparency to the Manufacturing Industry
Earlier today, William Grant & Sons, one of the biggest scotch and premium whiskey companies in Scotland, announced that it would be releasing a new range of whiskeys that would be made end to end by the company, with the company itself capturing the full manufacturing and distilling process instead of outsourcing specific steps to third parties. The idea was to make it easier for customers to track their whiskey from the source to the store, ensuring that their drinks are authentic.
This is just one innovative way out of thousands that illustrate how blockchain technology can be used. Many people believe that blockchain is something that is only used in the cryptocurrency space. However, the above implementation by William Grant & Sons, and other fascinating use-cases by the likes of IBM, Accenture, Amazon, and Facebook, amongst many others, show that the technology can be used to boost efficiency, increase transparency, reduce times to delivery, enhance competition, lower costs, and help companies reach wider markets.
Why use blockchain tech in the manufacturing industry?
Blockchain technology has a number of distinct features that make it a promising new way for the manufacturing industry to create value.
The first is immutability. The fact that it is immutable means it is impossible to alter data or information once it has been recorded on the blockchain. Bill McBeath, the chief research officer at ChainLink Research, believes that immutability is the most powerful feature of the blockchain as the same information can be shared between multiple entities (otherwise known as a single version of the truth, or SVoT) without fear of the data being changed.
Blockchain’s immutability has already helped it gain traction and adoption in the food supply industry where it is being used to verify the authenticity of a food source and eliminate counterfeit foods. The technology is also used for shipping and logistics management due to this feature, as well as in the medicine and medications industries.
The second feature is the easy traceability of products. With a blockchain implementation across the supply chain, consumers all over the globe can easily track the products they are using and know where inputs or ingredients were sourced from, what the cost was, whether they were sourced or produced using eco-friendly processes, and so on. For William Grant & Son, this feature is significant, since it would allow their customers to track their whiskey from the source to the store, making it easier for them to recognize and identify counterfeit products.
Accenture is also tapping into the blockchain space by allowing its customers to trace the origins of their products. The company is developing in-store, web, and app-based implementations of the technology that would enable consumers to scan products and obtain the full supply chain history of their purchase from start to finish.
Decentralization of the technology is the third critical feature of blockchain that has generated a lot of media coverage, almost specifically in the crypto sector. However, this feature is equally important in the manufacturing industry. Information provided on the blockchain is decentralized, which means that the data is distributed across a network instead of being stored on a single server. This is very important as it makes it very hard to hack and makes it next to impossible for anyone to alter information already provided on the blockchain. Everything from order sizes to price quotes, raw input costs, and other important data points can be securely and immutably stored on the blockchain and provided to world markets at virtually no cost.
Data security and transparency are two other important features of blockchain tech. All of the information on a blockchain is cryptographically stored, making it virtually impossible for anyone outside the system to change any data inputted into the network. The information is also visible in the entire system and anyone connected to the network.
Smart contracts are the final piece of the puzzle. They have become very valuable to manufacturing companies and the business world at large. What they are is a set of coded procedures and processes embedded within a blockchain. They offer several benefits, including automatic and automated business operations. Smart contracts can help the manufacturing industry by eliminating third-party transaction costs, increasing transparency, making audits easier, improving automation, and doing away with manual processes.
SyncFab – leading the manufacturing space with blockchain
With all of the features and benefits above in mind, let’s look at an actual tech implementation that brings all of these advantages and features together on one platform.
One company that has been making giant strides in the blockchain sector and delivering real services is SyncFab. The company is essentially a blockchain-powered manufacturing platform that connects manufacturers with their suppliers and final consumers. Everything from transactions, delivery coordination, quotes, and payments are carried out in a fast, secure, transparent, and budget-friendly ecosystem, making SyncFab one of the companies at the forefront of the next industrial revolution.
The SyncFab platform has enabled users to benefit from the trustless verifiability of contracts and agreements that are an integral part of blockchain and smart contract-based services. The impenetrable security of data and transactions is another excellent feature offered by SyncFab. These characteristics have helped it provide on-demand purchasing and tracking from anywhere around the globe. They also help SyncFab provide high-quality manufacturing quotes from trusted suppliers all over the world, thus reducing the time it takes consumers to find parts they need and for suppliers to find buyers for their products.
SyncFab has been working on delivering highly streamlined supply chain operations for several years to help businesses lower marketing, administration, and manufacturing expenses. By connecting both small and large scale consumers to vendors and product suppliers all over the world, SyncFab is working to ensure that not only are manufacturing costs lowered, but departmental management of supply chain operations within the manufacturing industry becomes obsolete as well.
Other manufacturing entities using blockchain tech
In the manufacturing space, a number of renowned companies and consortiums have made positive strides using blockchain tech. The most popular example is perhaps IBM Blockchain which was created to boost transparency and accountability in the supply chain sector. Using the IBM network, shipping and logistics companies can utilize a shared ledger that automatically updates processes as they unfold. IBM partnered with Maersk to increase efficiency in transportation, and this has yielded positive results so far.
Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) is a blockchain consortium formed by large automakers including GM, Renault, Ford, and BMW. The group is working with a number of blockchain startups to develop a vehicle digital identity prototype that can allow them to track vehicles and secure relevant information on distributed ledgers. The primary aim of this is to create accountability in the automobile industry as data would be difficult to fabricate.
Blockchain will store 10% of global GDP
Blockchain has had positive impacts in several sectors and is expected to become even more beneficial over the coming years. A paper published by the World Economic Forum in 2015 predicted that roughly 10 percent of the global GDP would be stored on the blockchain after 2027.
There are several fronts across which different companies are pushing the envelope when it comes to innovation and creating new applications for blockchain in the manufacturing space. These include supply chain management, auditing, marketing, transaction management, and more. Blockchain has already been successfully used in a number of different settings and verticals and has helped companies streamline processes, improve efficiency, and boost transparency along the way. With the strides that have been taken by SyncFab in providing all of these benefits on one platform and proving the viability of the technology and its applicability specifically to manufacturing companies, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for this space.