Jul 16, 2019
Logistics is a fast-growing sector, with the bulk it undergoing a massive overhaul to accommodate the ever-changing technology.
A fundamental portion of international trade is reliant on data. Goods tend to change hands at multiple entries and exit points and keeping a track of these has proven to be a challenge for even the largest of companies. Even in the case of intensive tracking, data integrity is what comes into question.
In the simplest of terms, blockchain is a series of time-stamped immutable record of data that is not owned by any single entity. It is the decentralized nature of this technology that makes it increasingly attractive to the supply chain players. The global aspect of these transactions remain that transfer of funds and documentation can be carried out anywhere in the world without the need of traditional banks or middlemen.
Logistics is a field that relies heavily on a large number of players, from airlines to outsourced 4th party logistics providers. Their close connection and working provides silos of data that needs to be audited in real-time. The right data is the key to maximizing the efficiency of the supply chain, increasing profits, expediting delivery and reducing the costs across the board.
In the logistics business, the touch point of goods traveling go through a variety of mechanisms, from long term trusted relations, regulations, or certifications to establish their point of origin. The inclusion of blockchain removes the need for proxies and in turn their associated costs. The registration of materials, products or even the parts on the blockchain will be able to verify the point of origin for the goods and improve the quality assurance.
The efficiency of coordination and faster delivery across the board is what sets the competition apart from one another. Logistics now demands real-time visibility to ensure the deliverable action associated with the goods. A coordinator can provide status updates, it's the handoff point of goods that create difficulty in tracking. The parties associated with the handing off are also incentivized to manipulate dates. Incidents like earlier delivery than the actual time or damage to the goods while in their care are all that they might be penalized for.
The amount of transactions involved in the logistics industry demands that every associated party maintain their records and ledgers, making it a paper and labor-intensive task. The manual entry system also forces companies to check for mistakes and inaccuracies leading to a time-consuming reconciliation step before the release of payments. Blockchain could be used to store and share digitized records and create contracts that automatically execute these functions. The elimination of intermediaries and paper-based processes reduce the delaying payments and increase the accuracy of the transactions.
The presence of AI across the world is unmistakable. Thus, its application in logistics has also been felt. Chatbots have been integrated into both retail and customer services. In logistics, however, they can be repurposed to fulfill the needs of operational procurement. Streamlining procurement related tasks has always been on the forefront for most companies to figure out and that's what is done via chatbots.
Bots can be programmed to conduct basic conversations with suppliers and perform the task of sending actions to them. They also hold the capacity to carry out filing and documentation of invoices and payments that further improve the traditional payment systems.
Another aspect of AI is machine learning (ML) which can be used to enhance supply chain planning, from forecasting inventory, demand, and supply and can provide an optimized decision-making process.
Autonomous is where one wants to head with shipping, an advanced accurate system will be able to provide logistics management with reduced lead time and transportation expenses.
Why these two technologies are doing wonders to create a dittoed future for freight but its truly their intersection that marks the beginning of a new dawn.
They provide transparency to a business that has long been the ground for tampering and fraud. As the goods move throughout the supply chain every step is tracked and recorded. As all parties receive access to the same information the data become incorruptible and validity is assured.
Consumers are becoming aware of every passing day and the shift from the seller's market to the buyer's market is evident. In such a case the food industry needs to be able to trace every product right back to its source to ensure the integrity of food to its source.
Blockchain provides neutrality in the process and platform. The exclusion data ensures in the event of the anti contamination of the food from where the source can be tracked and the reputation of the brand remains intact.
The chain of custody action makes this industry one of the hardest to cater for. The AI systems would ensure the calculation of any delays in shipping and prevent the cold storage goods from perishing during transit. The rise of counterfeit medications has created a market where the integrity of pharmaceuticals is being questioned.
The human factor associated with this industry along with price tags also increases the need to create transparent documentation and speedy transit.
In the past couple of years the retail industry has been marred by the source of origin question time and time again. With the integration of this technology, tracking inventory and understanding the retail patterns becomes easier.
The insights from the data created will help create a customized experience for the consumer. Tracking returns & preventing fraudulent returns will help speed up the deliveries and reduce transactional inconsistencies.
The world is moving towards an automated process, where the two technologies with their different applications are bought under one roof to digitize the information passing through the channels and ensuring validity for the best consumer process.
On its own, a blockchain is no more than a ledger, keeping a track of the data passing through. It is through the integration of technologies like Artificial Intelligence that the process can be automated to execute functions.