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Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the supply chain

The supply chain consists of countless segments. Each link in the chain needs to function optimally on its own, but also interact with other links. When this doesn’t happen, the chain breaks and gets stuck. Blockchain technology, primarily associated with preserving and transferring money, has the capability to securely, safely, and advancedly connect all the links in the supply chain. The main advantage of blockchain technology is its ability to track, monitor, and record activities happening in different places and through different systems. Since the information is distributed and not stored in a single server, every activity is registered and updated in real-time for anyone with access to see. So how can blockchain be integrated into the supply chain?  

Secure and automatic payment to suppliers – Has the merchandise arrived? Has the supplier met the goal? Once the system identifies that the transaction has been completed and it’s time for payment, it automatically transfers the payment to the supplier. In a world of global trade, blockchain allows skipping the need for bank transfers across the world, which is a cumbersome and costly bureaucratic process. By the way, there are suppliers worldwide today who accept payment in Bitcoin, but unlike Bitcoin, blockchain enables payment in any currency you choose to use – dollars, euros, shekels, etc.  

Inventory management and orders for medicines and food – Inventory is always an expensive matter, but when it comes to medicines and food, timing and storage conditions play a key role. Placing sensors on their containers/storage boxes can provide us with information about temperature, humidity, movements, and different environmental conditions. Connecting these sensors to blockchain systems enables real-time monitoring while maintaining a high level of confidentiality. Were storage conditions violated? The system will immediately notify all parties involved because it is a distributed system, and the supplier cannot “hide the information” from the other party. How effective is this for companies in practice? Food marketing networks in the US have already started using technology to monitor end-to-end information – from which area in the world, when, and how the merchandise is sent to them.  

Until now, if a baby food manufacturing company discovered a defective product and needed to recall it, it had to reach out to everyone who supplied them with products, without knowing who held the defective product. Thanks to blockchain and its monitoring and tracking capabilities, today the company can know which truck carries the product, to which stores it is delivered, and even on which shelves it is located. This significantly streamlines the recall process! If the product is supplied to a network like Shufersal, there is no need to reach every branch of the network – only specific branches that received the defective product.  

Bill of lading – Yes, the same bill of lading that has existed for hundreds of years will be replaced by an encrypted digital document serving as a consensus proof of ownership for the goods. This encrypted document is accessible and transparent to supply systems, customers, legal authorities, and banks, providing them with immediate access at any given moment. Blockchain allows us to know precisely when the merchandise will arrive, to ensure that the delivered merchandise is indeed the one that was ordered, and that the person who should collect it is the one actually collecting it. Unlike a bill of lading that can be stolen or counterfeited, blockchain helps us know the content of the cargo without opening it and removing any doubt about who the legal owner of that cargo is. The process is transparent to all involved parties at any given moment, from the supplier and customer to the legal authorities like tax authorities and ports, and even the banks.  

So how can we start using blockchain tomorrow morning? The good news is that it is not a complex implementation process, and it can take less than half a workday! The blockchain component essentially “sits” on existing systems in the
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