Supply chains are increasingly fragmented into a multiplicity of actors with diverging interests. It is in an attempt to restore trust within complex networks through foolproof traceability that blockchain finds its legitimacy.
Facing the threat of health crises, retailers rely on technology such as blockchain to enhance the traceability of their goods. And if there is one area where compliance with safety standards is essential, it is the cold chain logististics and in particular the transport by conveyors of perishable products.
On the occasion of the Rendez-Vous de la Chaine Logistique du Froid in Marseille, Clément Bergé-Lefranc, co-founder and CEO of Ownest, took part in the Blockchain round table on May 17th. On this occasion, he was able to explain what the blockchain can bring to logisticians and other professionals in the field of controlled temperature with the participation of Marianne Bodin, supply chain project manager at Carrefour.
Complex logistics networks and lack of visibility
Consumers are increasingly demanding greater transparency, particularly regarding to delivery times and the origin of products, from brands, whether from manufacturers or distributors.
Nowadays, another standard is required from supply chain professionals in the evaluation of a supplier: the smooth delivery of goods. In the case of perishable products, such as foodstuffs or pharmaceutical products, this means that the products must not have been damaged during transport or broken in the cold chain.
Froidnews outlines that global losses related to cold chain disruptions are estimated at $35 million in 2018.
While supply chain management is a competitive challenge, cold chain management is a real public health issue.
Maintaining the package at a constant temperature requires strict real-time monitoring of the storage temperatures of the products and the refrigerated container by the carrier. But in a multi-level subcontracting mechanism, cross docking or subcontracting represent a significant risk. It is now necessary to be able to keep a follow-up in a subcontracting chain, even complex.
European regulations require a storage temperature between -3°C and +8°C. For frozen food they must not exceed -18°C.
To carry out its mission successfully, the client must know and visualize in real time the logistics network and link the reliable history of all temperatures to each link in the logistics network. It must also be alerted to exceedance thresholds, in order to identify problematic containers so that they can be quickly removed from distribution channels.
Blockchain: a temperature monitoring solution via the transfer of responsibility monitoring
Blockchain is a forgery-proof, immutable and secure technology that restores trust in sectors where it is lacking, such as the logistics sector.
As our CEO, Clément Bergé-Lefranc, points out, "a supply chain is above all a responsibility chain".
When it comes to choosing geolocation technology to secure goods, many professionals rely solely on connected objects. However, IoT geolocation trackers, in addition to being expensive, have often proved inefficiency because they are unable to engage the real responsibility of an actor. A pallet of charges geolocated on a dock for 45 minutes in the middle of summer will give information about a degradation of the fresh product but finally who to turn against? The warehouse manager? The forklift driver? The driver? The same applies to the single use of a simple temperature IoT.
In terms of traceability, the blockchain solution developed by the start-up Ownest innovates by not directly tracking the goods, but the transfer of responsibility. By identifying the people responsible for the goods handled, the solution provides extended visibility of logistics networks, even over several levels of subcontracting.
Its digital tracker can be created for any transport equipment and allows to follow, in real time, all the actors of the supply chain. This unique technology, unalterable and transferable, allows supply chain actors to "pass on the hot potato of responsibility". It is no longer a simple declaratory system, based on the goodwill of the actors, but a real mechanism of consensus between the logistics actors that makes it possible to certify the exchange of goods. During this transfer of responsibility, the recipient remains free, in full knowledge of the facts, to accept or refuse the goods. This means "who is responsible for what throughout the supply chain".
Thanks to blockchain technology, logisticians will then be able to hold their transport teams accountable and have certified data. In addition, the transmission of information is secured at a minimal cost.
Coupled with this blockchain transfer of responsibility, IoTs can add important information and bundles of evidence. Transport documents, photos but also all the information of an IoT can be linked to the certified transfer. So I can really know who was actually responsible for my product when my IoT told me that the temperature dropped. The possibilities become almost unlimited to couple all types of information on the basis of its certified transfers.