Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple – cryptocurrency has been dominating the news in everything from investments to regulatory oversight to international trading. Underneath those digital coins, however, lurks a far more enterprising concept: the supportive latticework of a concept called the blockchain.
The proverbial heart of the machine, this intriguing engine relies on decentralized control – each transaction is verified and re-verified in a complex self-rewarding system of participants that isn’t vulnerable to alteration or fraud. Beyond the socio-financial focus on blockchain technology as alternate currency, manufacturers are cashing in on a different strength altogether: decentralized confirmations that improve everything from compliance to efficiency using this system.
One “bad” component can cause surprisingly large systems to stumble, spilling customer trust and brand integrity on their way to the bottom. That’s why it is absolutely crucial for a wide swath of industries – health and beauty, automotive, and pharmaceutical to name just a few – to know exactly where their ingredients come from. This includes how they’ve been treated as they travel through their requisite supply chains, and how to quickly trace them to their source in the event of an issue. Prior to the block-chain, this was a tedious process that involved scores of individuals, potential language barriers, global constraints, and all-consuming paperwork – time-intensive leaps in situations that often did not have time to spare.
Utilizing the mandatory multi-confirmation entry system of the block-chain for component and finished product data has revolutionized the way the fabrication sphere interacts with its tools and materials. It allows stakeholders ranging from supply chain partners to end consumers to look at a comprehensive, transparent timeline of what they are researching, from raw material to store – or digital – shelf. Data is much more readily translated and universally read than emails or phone calls, enabling actionable insights to be shared more freely across the manufacturing chain.
Blockchain technology can simplify your global supply chain, especially for small and mid-sized businesses
Integration is one of the most powerful words in the assembly and manufacturing lexicon. When various nodes of the supply and demand chain communicate seamlessly, less work, less manpower, and fewer accidents become the tempting results. While blockchain is still relatively new, and even a novelty to some, make no mistake – it isn’t going anywhere. Beyond quiet usage and experimentation within industries, big retail players like Walmart are signing on, as are B2B decision-makers as large as IBM, AMEX, and JP Morgan Chase.
While each company may be privately exploring the blockchain to develop intra-company records at the moment, eventually success will drive them to connect with other blockchain-welding companies – and perhaps even offer them preferential treatment, as well. Additionally, unimpeachable integration and connection holds special promise where B2B lenders are concerned. When all B2B transaction records are indelibly registered to the blockchain, determining credit worthiness becomes a nearly-automated process.
Regulatory compliance can bog down SMEs, but blockchain can help ease that regulatory burden
While regulation, continually shifted by socio-political movements across the globe, can be challenging, blockchain tech makes it a more straightforward goal. The goal of any regulation, it can be argued, can be summed up in four needs: to determine what something is, where something has come from, where something is going, and how much money is changing hands along its route. These are all very common pieces of data found on the blockchain, as manufacturers have embraced the transparent, trustworthy nature of the network for their record-keeping needs. While it does simplify intra-company tallies, blockchain technology can also be furnished to regulatory agencies as proof of compliance, provided the organization in question is blockchain-literate.
Less red tape and bureaucracy is a universal win for manufacturing, already laboring against obstacles like transportation driver shortages, 3PL price hikes, and looming tariffs complicating international trade.
Imagine, instead of these obstacles, an assembly line where each and every component came with a small, invisible, but easily traceable guarantee of quality. Imagine a manufacturing sphere that could confidentially isolate and investigate a single problem branch in a recall, rather than bringing their entire operation to a halt. Imagine if customers could know and trust the provenance of their finished goods and materials without a trace of cynicism or skepticism. It’s not a pipe dream – it’s the way of the future under a blockchain-supported assembly and manufacturing industry, and it’s swiftly becoming a reality as more manufacturers and suppliers are hopping on board.
Blockchain isn’t the only technology Assembly businesses need to consider. A modern ERP is a critical success factor for mid-sized business in fabrication and assembly.
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