cover image for the interview of ShipChain, the end-to-end logistics platform of the future

Get acquainted with the next-gen Blockchain use cases as ShipChain - Blockchain for transportation vendor, rolls out another fascinating interview

  • TeqAtlas
  • Sep 24, 2019

About Ship Chain:

ShipChain alongside with Microsoft, Intel, Thomson Reuters, Cisco and others, functioning member of Enterprise Ethereum Alliance have recently co-launched Global NFC Blockchain Shipment Tracking Solution. No wonder it’s coin price keeps growing and has surged around 25% just over last week.

What Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, or/and Internet of Things solutions in your product line obtained the greatest number of use cases among small & medium businesses?

Most businesses that we interact with are primarily interested in our blockchain solution. Our mission is to transform supply chain operations by unifying track and trace, thereby increasing visibility and accountability while eliminating the need to involve third parties, reducing costs, and aligning the incentives of everyone involved.

There are so many use cases for blockchain in logistics and supply chain, and the size of the company interested in implementing it is almost irrelevant. Any company, regardless of its size or the size of its supply chain, that is looking to boost visibility and transparency should look to blockchain.

One industry that we have seen a lot of interest from that stands to benefit considerably from adding blockchain is food, agriculture, and farming. Recalls are a common occurrence, and they are damaging to both a company’s reputation and profitability. Blockchain increases visibility and traceability so that if a recall is necessary, it can pinpoint which products are affected, where the affected products are, and what steps can be implemented to reduce the recall’s impact. It also allows for supply chain managers to identify what went to trigger the recall in the first place. This added visibility helps managers place accountability and reevaluate their processes moving forward.

Supply chain management is indeed one of the most appropriate industries for blockchain adoption. Lack of standardisation often creates a misunderstanding between the involved parties. Blockchain in logistics adds a truthful level of proof to each step of the process

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What kind of challenges do these solutions solve for your clients?

Typically, our clients are frustrated by the lack of transparency in their supply chains. Items are often misplaced or stolen, and there is no way to place accountability or pinpoint what went wrong. Fraud and theft directly correlate to lost productivity and profitability and are huge setbacks for any business. Additionally, shippers often have no real sense of where their shipments are, which is both frustrating and confusing. Adding blockchain can be monumental in combatting these issues as it provides an immutable ledger of all transactions within a supply chain. If something does go missing, blockchain makes it easy to pinpoint the last time that item was accounted for, where it was, and who was handling it. Due to blockchain’s decentralized nature, it cannot be hacked or altered after the fact, so it provides an honest and thorough account while simultaneously increasing the overall security of sensitive data. Adding blockchain to your operations could save you millions of dollars and headaches in the long run.

When combating the issues it is also crucial to have a reliable source of information as Blockchain database input. Thus, using various beacons, sensors and RFID chips leads to widespread adoption of the internet of things in logistics.

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What business operations are the most applicable for Distributed Ledger?

A great use case for the distributed ledger is Smart Contracts. Smart contracts allow for credible and verifiable digital transactions to occur without third-party intervention. This eliminates any middleman markup, thereby decreasing costs for all parties.

Another good example is data storage. Since anything recorded on the distributed ledger cannot be altered or changed retroactively, it is the perfect medium on which to store data. Additionally, blockchain’s immutable ledger allows for trust in the system to build as more visibility correlates to fewer instances of theft or fraudulent activity.

Lastly, track and trace is a prime application for the distributed ledger. Blockchain keeps a comprehensive and accurate record of all happenings pertaining to a specific product that cannot be altered. That means that if there ever is an issue like a food recall, supply chain managers can easily trace it back to the source and take appropriate action to prevent any similar incidents from taking place in the future.

What do businesses need to be aware of and what challenges can they face while implementing emerging technology like Blockchain?

There will always be some people that are resistant to change, particularly amongst those accustomed to the status quo. If you are thinking about implementing an emerging technology like blockchain, it might be challenging to get everyone on board, especially when some people aren’t even sure what blockchain technology is. Something that we like to say at ShipChain is that it doesn’t matter if you know exactly how it works, you only need to understand how it could transform your operations for the better.

Additionally, blockchain should not be touted as a “fix all” when it comes to supply chain woes.

It can significantly enhance your operations, but people and trust are still necessary components of the equation regardless of whether or not you use blockchain. Blockchain has the ability to hold people accountable due to track and trace. That said, it cannot wholly prevent legitimate users from entering false data into the system. Automated data collection technologies and sensors can help eliminate this risk, but blockchain on its own cannot guarantee that all data entered is true and accurate.

Ultimately, companies can implement blockchain into their systems today, but it is crucial that they continue to ensure their partners, suppliers, and users are trustworthy, and understand the importance of data integrity.

Implementing Blockchain impacts the legacy system of any company. What major upgrade of the legacy systems have your clients had to go through? What were the main challenges and how were they solved?

One of our biggest mantras is that we are here to integrate, not replace. We would never expect our clients to throw out their existing systems that they have invested so much time and resources in. That means that regardless of whichever existing systems a client may be using, we can aggregate that data and unify the data standards so that it is all available on one single platform. We believe that this reduces any significant challenges in implementing our blockchain solution.

Have you had experience implementing several emerging technologies in one project at once (Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things)? What areas do you think are the most applicable for the combination of these technologies?

Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (A.I), and the Internet of Things (IoT), when combined, are capable of enhancing and streamlining a plethora of business operations. Advanced planning systems have the capability to utilize blockchain data to improve demand planning, inventory management, and deployment. Think of blockchain data as another data source along with the Internet of Things (IoT), point of sale (POS), A.I and social media to drive supply chain efficiencies and effectiveness. Advanced planning systems have the ability to consume blockchain data and publish data to blockchains.

With that said, one particular example that comes to mind is data management. IoT has created big data by connecting billions of devices worldwide. A.I is the perfect means to sift through that data just due to the sheer volume of transactions A.I. can process. Blockchain’s immutable ledger is well suited for data storage since nothing on the blockchain can be tampered with or altered. That said, it cannot prevent inaccurate data from being input onto the blockchain. A.I. is an excellent solution as automated processes eliminate human error and therefore, guarantee data integrity. When combined, the three emerging technologies can streamline data management.

One industry where this data management combo comes into play is in the food and grocery supply chain. The food industry faces numerous challenges related to waste, illegal production, fraud, and foodborne illnesses.

Likewise, food fraud – the mislabeling, misrepresentation, tampering and substitution of one food for another – has become a serious worry. In Europe, for example, horse meat was found to have been standing in for beef in widespread fraud. Additionally, a recent study found that half of the seafood sold in Canada is improperly labelled.

Finally, foodborne illness has been found to affect one in six in the U.S. every year with a total cost of 93 billion dollars.

Blockchain in the grocery supply chain can help resolve these problems. It can add transparency, increase efficiency and improve food safety. Together, those three benefits will also help to reduce the tragic waste of food around the globe.

By beginning the ledger the moment vegetables leave the ground, data from one end of the food chain to the other can be immutably captured. It can track lettuce from the farm it came from, along with growing conditions, through to any processing facility. It can include batch numbers, expiry dates, storage temperatures and conditions, and finally shipping data including atmospheric conditions in transit and during warehousing and final mile distribution.

The potential business benefits of using the burgeoning supply chain technology are clear.

Increased efficiency cuts costs, while improved food safety reduces risk to both reputation and the bottom line.

A great deal of such problems arise due to the human factor. What actually helps minimize the impact of the factor is artificial intelligence adoption. We may already witness how artificial intelligence in logistics or ai in transportation outperforms humans. The adoption, however, lead to some noticeable ai challenges, most of them relate to moral issues though.

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