Blockchain and IoT in Logistics

In any supply chain, managing the transportation of products is a challenging task. Sometimes materials are improperly shipped, resulting in sensitive products getting damaged. The success of any logistics company lies in the efficient inventory management, warehousing, fast delivery, and taking care of safe storage of the goods. Enter IoT and blockchain. These technologies are ready to revolutionize the logistics domain.

Blockchain and IoT in cold chain logistics

The transportation of food, chemicals, and pharmaceutical drugs requires temperature control. A strict predefined temperature is necessary to preserve the desired qualities of these products. Any fluctuation in the temperature can decrease the effectiveness of these products and, in some cases, can even make them unfit for consumption. Human error is the leading cause of mishaps by temperature fluctuations. Some of these errors are as follows:

· If the temperature-sensitive container was to be shipped in the morning but the shipment got delayed to late evening. This delay can cause unwanted fluctuations in the temperature.

· If the lid of the product bottle is not closed correctly in the packaging, it can cause the inside contents to get exposed to high environmental temperature.

· Suppose the frozen packs are not compactly packed, leaving enough space between the product packings. In that case, the products can melt in transit because of uneven cooling and getting exposed to higher temperature.

· Fluctuation in the temperature of the cold room can damage the pharmaceutical products in case the temperature falls below the acceptable temperature. Thus, reducing the effectiveness of the products.

In a blockchain and IoT based logistics system, the product package will have two components:

(a) The first component will be a unique number assigned to the product package, which will be registered on the Blockchain. Whenever the package changes hands, the information will be recorded on the Blockchain. Thus the complete journey of the product from manufacturer till it reaches the customer will be recorded on the Blockchain.

The complete journey of the product is recorded on Blockchain

(b) The second component will be IoT temperature sensors attached to the package. The sensors will record temperature of the product during its transportation, and this information will be recorded on the Blockchain. Besides, any fluctuation in the temperature will also be recorded on the Blockchain, and an alert will be sent to all the relevant stakeholders involved in the supply chain.

Fluctuation in temperature is recorded on Blockchain, and an alert is sent to relevant stakeholders

These IoT sensors can also monitor humidity conditions and physical shock in the storage area of the shipment. Subsequently, all the concerned stakeholders will be able to track this complete information on the Blockchain and then can use this information to notify the truck drivers and shippers of damaged shipments long before they arrive at their premise, and ask for a new and undamaged shipment.

Other IoT sensors that can be used during transportation can sense the shipment’s location and register that on the Blockchain. Thereby informing all the concerned stakeholders about the real-time location of the shipment.

These IoT sensors attached to shipment can even improve the supply chain security and protect the shipment against theft by detecting anomalies like route deviation, hijacking, or tampering. Moreover, the whole information will get registered on the Blockchain and send live alerts to the stakeholders involved.

Blockchain and IoT in inventory management

Most companies rely on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to support their business and supply chain inventory needs. The combination of IoT with ERP Softwares can add business value by providing real-time data, giving existing ERPs real-time visibility into the inventory of products and services.

Real-time visibility into the inventory of products and services by the ERP software

When this whole information gets registered on the Blockchain, the manufacturers can have real-time updates about the inventory of the enterprises. Therefore real-time orders can be placed based on predetermined conditions. In such a scenario, enterprises will receive the shipment without any delay, thereby preventing any loss of sales. Thus, in turn, enhancing the customer experience for these enterprises.

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