Enhancing supply chain traceability
The increasing complexity of global supply chains has made it harder to ensure traceability in key sectors such as food, construction, mining, energy, power and utilities. All stakeholders, including consumers, want greater visibility over where a product comes from and how it has been made to help ensure safety and quality.
Traditionally, the sheer amount of data and a variety of processes has made this a complex and often costly task. Particularly as consumers and end-users are largely unwilling to pay a premium for such information.
Now Blockchain offers a solution and it is already enhancing traceability in supply chains.
Blockchain is a shared, distributed ledger that makes it possible to record transactions and track assets (for example products or money) without a central repository.
Rather than all members of the supply chain keeping their own records, which often requires external validation by a third party, Blockchain provides a shared ledger that is updated through peer-to-peer replication and validated by all parties every time a transaction occurs.
Clare Blythe, UK Certification Audit Team Manager for Bureau Veritas says: “Blockchain offers a wide range of benefits, from eliminating duplication of reconciliation efforts to reducing the need for third-party intermediaries.
“It reduces the cost to verify the conformity of products at any stage, adding value to the final product in doing so, and offers maximum security too. Transactions cannot be changed once recorded, the system can use cryptography to protect commercially sensitive information and there is an option for smart contracts and digital signatures too. Crucially, all of this enables complete traceability without any single, all-powerful actor, or the need for an independent third party at every transaction.”
However, for Blockchain to work, it requires governance. For example, the identity of participants must be verified to guarantee their liability and data entry processes and interfaces need verification to ensure they capture real-life situations correctly.
The blockchain should include appropriate checks to ensure that members cannot collude outside of the ledger to validate fraudulent transactions and an incentivisation model must be agreed upon, including how the small cost will be absorbed. This is where Bureau Veritas can support.
Clare adds: “Bureau Veritas is a recognised independent third party with expertise in verifying supply chains. We’re involved in some of the first traceability blockchains and our specialist team can help you to implement blockchain systems and devise appropriate systems of governance, whatever your sector.
“As a global leader in testing, inspection and certification services we can also support with added inspections throughout the supply chain, including product quantity or quality inspections, certification of management systems or inspections of manufacturing or production facilities.
“With a trusted, experienced team, we can offer complete confidence when using this pioneering technology to meet the ever-changing demands of all stakeholders when it comes to supply chain traceability.”
Contact our team for more information about our blockchain service.