You may have heard of blockchain before, and you’ve almost certainly heard of Bitcoin, the most well-known application of blockchain technology. But what does blockchain technology actually involve, and how is it relevant to the Australian logistics industry?
Blockchain is a system in which blocks of digital information are linked together using cryptography, to ensure the content within the blocks cannot be corrupted or altered. In this context, a ‘block’ refers to a set of data and the ‘chain’ refers to the public database that stores it. This data exists over multiple copies and multiple computers. So, blockchain is like a digital ledger, or a record of interactions with a data set.
There are several features of blockchain technology that make it of particular interest to logistics, and the supply chain in particular. Experts say it has the potential to:
- save time and money at all points on the supply chain
- remove the imperative to rely on trust between human agents in transactions
- increase efficiency and revolutionise supply chain processes.
As supply chains are often highly complex systems, issues of transparency, credibility, lack of transparency and security have all proved problematic for stakeholders, historically. Here are just a few of the ways in which blockchain could address these issues:
When applied to the supply chain, blockchain technology has the benefit of being completely transparent. All information about the supply process, from manufacture and provenance, purchase, warehouse interactions like picking, packing and auditing, delivery and any other interactions (like previous transactions with the item) are recorded in a block. This information cannot be modified and anyone can view it. If you are a customer purchasing an item that’s recorded with blockchain, you’ll be able to access information on everything about its lifecycle prior to reaching you. All other parties impacted by a transaction will have identical information, too. With this single source of truth, the obligation for trust and honesty between humans is removed, and accuracy is safeguarded. Read more here.
Because there are many layers of security built into the blockchain technology, breaches are virtually impossible. As a block is replicated in many copies across a global network, tampering would have to take place not only with one copy, but all of them. Furthermore, every block is linked to the one before and the one after it. Alterations are prevented by cryptographic mechanisms such as digital signatures. Read more here.
Blockchain technology has the potential to reduce the bureaucracy, paperwork and manual labour inherent in current documentation processes for supply chains. The automation of this aspect of supply chain administration saves time, money and resources. Blockchain tech can also reduce the possibility of errors compromising supply chain operations, and improve the predictability of processes. Read more here.
In our last blog, we talked about how AI (Artificial Intelligence) is set to revolutionise the logistics industry, and it seems clear that blockchain technology will contribute to this. At cora, we’re excited to explore how this technology can add value to our services. With the integrity of the supply chain resolutely intact, we could explore other avenues for efficiencies and synergies and increase the timeframes, accessibility of information, service quality and outcomes that we’re currently delivering to our customers. We’ll continue to find ways to extend and customise our services, and will ensure that we share relevant new information and technologies to customers who could benefit from them.
Whether you’re a current cora customer or a consumer shopping online from the comfort of your own home, blockchain will change the way your transactions are conducted. Stay tuned for more insight from the team at cora about developments in the Australian logistics industry and what they’ll mean for you!
In the meantime, if you’d like to discuss your logistics needs, give cora a call on 1800 410 418 or email [email protected] receive advice from our experts.