Blockchain-based tracking to become a must-have, data drives supply chains
Manufacturers and suppliers need distribution ERP software now more than ever. With a greater emphasis on tracking materials through every phase of the supply chain, manufacturers without good distribution ERP software face an uphill battle in the months and years ahead.
The Evolution of Supply Chain Tracking
Supply chain tracking has moved from phone calls to your suppliers into the world of IoT, RFID tags, and remote tracking. That’s all well and good for shipments of steel and plastic, but what about perishable goods? What about pharmaceuticals, ingredients for food manufacturing, and other elements that are crucial for food or medicine?
Blockchain-Based Supply Chains
Enter the blockchain, an immutable public record that can be used by manufacturers to track items along the supply chain route. Made famous by bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain is more than magic money. Transactions made on the blockchain form a permanent and public record that provides a time, date, and location stamp for each transaction.
Blockchain-based tracking offers trustless methods of recording business transactions; no third party is needed to record real estate deeds, for example. The blockchain records it all. Industries including real estate, travel, tourism, communications, and entertainment race to be the first to develop blockchain-based solutions to common problems.
Food Manufacturers, Take Note: Distribution ERP Software Meets Blockchain
For food manufacturers, blockchain couldn’t come a moment too soon. Last year, contaminated Romaine lettuce sickened 205 people from an E. coli outbreak; 5 of those people died. The CDC warned consumers not to eat lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region since the outbreak originated on farms in that part of the country.
Consumers, however, struggled to determine where their lettuce was grown. Like much of the current food supply, lettuce, and other vegetables may travel great distances from farm to table with stops in warehouses, packaging facilities, trucks, storerooms, and finally, supermarket shelves. Along the way, they can pick up some bad bugs, including E. coli. Where has your lettuce been? Hard to say for most stores.
WalMart wants to know, and it has the power and clout to find out. Growers including Driscoll’s and Dole Food Company piloted a program utilizing blockchain tracking for the food supply chain.
Why not just use a cloud-based data bank to track shipments? Growers may not wish to reveal the farms within their networks to their competitors. Blockchain provides an anonymous way to track purchases of fruits and vegetables from farm to distribution points around the world.
The impact of WalMart’s groundbreaking move is yet to be seen, but food manufacturers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, take note. Gone are the days when tracking supply chain metrics via phone calls, emails, or other messages is sufficient. Today’s businesses demand accountability. In the case of the E. coli outbreak, such accountability saves lives.
Distribution ERP software can help you track such shipments into your distribution centers and manage the data to the endpoint. Blockchain can track supply chain inputs like fresh lettuce (through a supermarket supply chain) or chemicals to manufacture life-saving antibiotics. The resulting data not only helps in the event of an emergency but gives people peace of mind that their food and medicine is healthful and helpful.
Want to know more about distribution ERP software for process manufacturing? Sage 500 ERP, formerly known as Sage 500 ERP MAS 500, offers powerful features to help you keep your eye on every shipment and supply. Get the facts. Call Emerald TC today.
About Emerald TC
Emerald TC helps small businesses analyze their needs and choose the best systems for their companies. Contact us or call 678-456-6919 for more information about cloud-based ERP and other business productivity software and systems.