Blockchain technology promises to revolutionize every aspect of our lives. While it is often referenced only in financial industry terms, the technology promises advancements in a wide variety of industries. International Business Machines Corporation’s (NYSE: IBM) Food Trust blockchain is one of several projects aimed towards making the global supply chain more accountable. Now, the system is in full deployment and rapidly gaining users.
Major retailers looking to integrate the Food Trust project include Walmart, Nestle, Tyson and Unilever. Far from the usual start-ups involved with new blockchain systems, these corporations represent a massive slice of the global supply industry. IBM’s system will allow these retailers to quickly track disease outbreaks like E. coli – right back to the initial source. From there, all items from the infected source can be safely destroyed, stopping an outbreak in its tracks.
Managing the Global Supply Chain
Introducing more stringent accountability to the global supply chain is one of the greatest problems of the 21st century. Goods and services already flow across the world at a breakneck speed – and keeping track of their origin while preventing fraud is a difficult endeavor. Blockchain allows a digital fingerprint to be added to each item. This fingerprint can then be easily verified at each step along the supply chain – immediately alerting someone if the item has been tampered with in any way.
This type of on-demand verification is critical for ensuring that counterfeits are not swapped out along the way. It also allows shippers to track the highest risk areas for thievage – identifying locations that are particularly dangerous for losing inventory. The digital fingerprint included in the system ensures that stop-loss personnel have more data than ever before. This salvages a porous bottom line, helping companies to avoid costly overhead prices.
Walmart Issues Deadline
Industry leader and global supply pioneer Walmart recently issued a deadline for their suppliers – take part in the Food Trust blockchain before January 2019, or they will no longer supply Walmart. This is an astounding show of confidence for a blockchain technology. Walmart’s intention to track all green vegetables through the Food Trust system will significantly decrease the spread of disease outbreaks.
For blockchain itself, this is a sign that major traditional retailers are growing less apprehensive. Once known only as a finance system for the internet’s underworld, blockchain and cryptocurrency are slowly making their way into everyday life. Tracking the global supply chain is only one more facet of this march towards greater adoption.
Article By: Adam Stone