Innovation

5 companies using blockchain to drive their supply chain

Businesses are using the ledger technology behind Bitcoin to track their supply more efficiently.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Businesses are beginning to adopt blockchain technology to track their supply chain more efficiently.
  • Blockchain technology creates a record of each spot it has been in, making it useful for the enterprise, especially in the shipping industry.

Blockchain, the ledger technology that supports Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is being increasingly adopted for enterprise use.

Since it creates and maintains a permanent transcript of an item's transactions, blockchain technology can be helpful for tracking a company's supply chain. Using the emerging technology instead of past methods could be more efficient and accurate, saving businesses time and money.

Here are five companies experimenting with using blockchain to drive their supply chain.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the blockchain (Tech Pro Research)

1. Walmart

Using blockchain, Walmart employees can track some products back to their roots—literally. After scanning mangoes or a couple dozen other products with the store's app, employees can see which farm the fruit came from and where it's stored in the backroom, according to the Wall Street Journal. The technology could help customers understand where their food comes from and could streamline the restocking process.

2. Maersk

The world's largest shipping company completed its first test of blockchain technology in March 2017, looking at how it could help manage its cargo. In the test, Maersk, Dutch customs, and US Homeland Security were all able to remotely access data about the cargo, suggesting the technology may streamline and secure international shipping.

3. British Airways

The airline tested using blockchain to manage data about flights between London, Geneva, and Miami in 2017, the Wall Street Journal said. Using one unchangeable history source, the airline hoped to reduce conflicting flight information coming from gate monitors, flight apps, and the airline's website.

4. UPS

The shipping company UPS joined the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA) in November, hoping to push for increased transparency among all groups involved in the supply chain. The group is working to develop blockchain standards for the freight industry.

"In the future, blockchain standards and intercompany collaboration will support the logistics strategies that enable UPS customers to participate in global trade and finance," UPS said in a press release.

Currently, UPS is looking at how blockchain can be used in its customs brokerage business.

5. FedEx

FedEx, another shipping giant, joined BiTA in February and has already launched a blockchain-powered pilot program to help solve customer disputes. The company hopes the program will clarify what data should be stored on blockchain to best remedy customer issues. FedEx also hopes to use the technology to store records, vice president of strategic planning and analysis Dale Chrystie told Coindesk.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/fotograv

About Olivia Krauth

Olivia Krauth is an Education Reporter at Insider Louisville.

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