Enterprise IPFS for True Supply Chain Provenance — Part 2
Supply Chain Management is a hot topic today for a few reasons. The first is that better management of big data has presented us with a wider range of options. The second reason is that these new options are causing us to think differently about how we relate to our affiliates, clients, and customers. Another sobering reason is that we recently experienced a software supply chain hi-jacking spree that placed viruses on millions of computers. It’s now clear to everyone that supply chain networks need to radically improve security, and that old technology no longer cuts it.
When software security companies get hacked it’s time for systemic change.
Better management of our supply chain is also about better communication at every touch point along the journey. It’s now possible to seamlessly cross-stream communication at every junction. For example, in the gemstone industry, communication touch points are abundant and complex and include government regulation, exploration, discovery, mining, processing, distribution, and of course user satisfaction. Being able to track every step of the process through the chain builds trust. Knowing for sure that the data gleaned from the chain is accurate, certified, and easily accessible enhances the value of your product and saves everyone time and money.
The ruby and emerald supply chain process and challenges are similar to most other industries …
On almost every supply chain, whether product or service, the most difficult and volatile segment is the last mile to the user, which could be B2B or B2C.
As a general rule, the reason the last mile on the chain is the most challenging is because all along the way, up until that last mile, you are dealing with professionals who all have a vested interest in making the project work, keeping in mind though that they too are trying to make a profit which might make it a challenge for you. The self-leveler, and great thing about collaboration is that if you deal repeatedly with the same companies in your chain, you get to know and trust them, and it becomes less of an issue over time. There are however many unforeseen chain supply obstacles that pop up. Better communication helps mitigate damage and optimize change more effectively–it’s a space where Temporal and IPFS shine.
Working together and layered on each other, Temporal and IPFS combined with other more specific use applications can deliver clear instructions about your product or service, describing in minute detail, maybe even in a Smart Contract how, when, who, where, and what has to happen at each precise moment along the chain. Facts are checked and double checked automatically, and anomalies are reported immediately to appropriate parties throughout every applicable node in the distributed network. This immutable process improves security significantly at every level.
In an old school traditional supply chain, stakeholders have limited access to the overall flow of information, which, when chaos ensues and schedules become inadvertently delayed, makes it hard for those down chain to predict and plan deviations on the fly. Delays very rarely get passed along the chain efficiently, which causes costly delays for everyone, including the end user–the customer.
In an IPFS network each party in the supply chain can be assigned access to see the entire chain, or be given permission to only selective segments respective of their involvement. The network can be configured so each party has to sign off on each segment before the process moves to the next step in the chain. It can even be set up to require each party to run through a detailed pre-flight checklist just like an airline pilot. You could for example schedule that the supply chain user inspect the product and digitally sign off on model#, colour, quantity, shipping mode and destination even before the product is loaded into a shipping container, or at ANY STEP during manufacturing, packaging, or along the route. You could also require that the person receiving the container, digitally duplicate the process to ensure that all the info/data is correct before they forward it to ground transport, or whatever the next carrier mode might be. It becomes an automated, AI innovative checks-and-balances process that saves everyone time and money respective of costly mistakes that often escalate exponentially down chain.
With Temporal and IPFS working collaboratively, the supply chain process becomes intuitive, fluid, and seamless. It works so efficiently in part because IPFS is based on content parameters, not locationlike in the old data days of HTTP. It seems like an inconsequential difference, but here’s why “content addressing” matters so much:
When tracking a product based on “the ‘location’ of the server where the data file with the product information resides”, i.e., possibly and quite likely on a centralized cloud server owned by a third party, any discrepancy, say for example a the government that changes trade agreement regulations midstream, can be catastrophic when everyone downstream in the chain is not made aware of the change in a timely manner. As governments become more volatile, supply chains have to become more stable and transparent. The IPFS shift of power to the producer is subtle, but it carries heavy weight and can deliver positive consequences for everyone in the supply chain. Keep in mind too that last minute supply chain changes can also simply be because of a storm in the Atlantic. The reasons for changes are numerous, but the outcome is always the same — increased costs for everyone.
Whatever the reason causing the anomaly, legacy enterprises that still run on HTTP are not capable of performing the data marketing functions progressive and competitive companies need and expect. IPFS picks up where HTTP leaves off by shifting the focus from outdated location, to new way content.
Content in the network context simply means that your data/product/service has an identifying marker permanently attached to it in the form of a hash that can reside on a wide variety of nodes/servers throughout the distributed network. When someone searches for your product or service, they can now go directly to it without being forced to pass through the location of a third party central server.
Regardless of the reason for any changes that occur in a supply chain network, any deviation drives costs up when poor communication causes more problems instead of fixing small errors that demand prompt action. Early intervention on the fly is the key to managing costs and customer expectations. IPFS and Temporal working together can help companies peer more clearly into the future, and mitigate costly human error. Both are also OPEN SOURCE which means some of the most brilliant minds around the world are working on its development.
Temporal and IPFS deliver a distributed web network that makes it possible to easily and cost-effectively manage the flow of information and the profitable delivery of products or services. Temporal’s tag team collaboration helps supply chains operate more efficiently and optimizes profit while delivering a satisfying experience for the customer. At the end of the day and end the line, a happy customer is all that really counts. Next to profit of course.
Contact us to learn how we can improve your profit margins through more efficient supply chain management.
Enterprise IPFS for True Supply Chain Provenance — Part 2
Written for RTrade Technologies by: Maurice Cardinal