Evolve Your Supply Chain withBlockchain

Turn millions of data points into actionable insights.

Blockchain verifies transactions by recording activity on a continuously synced digital ledger, with no central point of control. Learn how this technology can transform your supply chain.

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Leverage Blockchain at Every Stage of the Supply Chain

Here’s how an electronics company could employ blockchain to track a raw material used in their smartphones.

Explore the use case below.

Put Blockchain into Action

Now that you’re familiar with core concepts of blockchain, carefully consider whether the technology is right for your supply chain. If you’ve determined it is, get started with this simple checklist:

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Sourcing

At this initial stage, the company sources raw materials that will be used in the final product. Vetted workers upload the data to the blockchain, helping to ensure best practices are followed and providing stakeholders with the assurance that the company’s claims are legitimate.

Shipping

After the manufacture of the smartphone components, the electronics company ships them to another region for assembly. By inputting the location of the components at every stage of this journey, stakeholders can trace the parts with reliability and ease.

Manufacturing

At this stage, the company uses the raw material to manufacture a component that will help power the final product—a smartphone. Here, blockchain helps ensure safe, compliant manufacturing processes and seamlessly connects the manufacturer to the third-party shipping provider at the next stage.

Distribution

After assembly and packaging, boxes of smartphones are distributed to retail locations for purchase by consumers. The company uses blockchain technology to enhance the customer experience and create better efficiency in crucial post-sale processes.

Assembly

Once the components are inspected after unloading, they’re moved to the assembly facility, where they’re inserted into smartphones for final sale to consumers. Here, blockchain is used to ensure optimal product quality and safety.

  1. 01

    Sourcing

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  2. 02

    Manufacturing

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  3. 03

    Shipping

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  4. 04

    Assembly

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  5. 05

    Distribution

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At the mine and the refining facility, the following data is captured and uploaded:

Hash: 00000

Polygons emerge from a baseline, of them containing an animated blue-to-pink gradient. Five parallel lines draw to the polygon from five data categories: 'worker identity', 'raw material origin', 'raw material quality', 'weight sacks of ore', and 'truck loading'.
  • Worker identityEvery day, vetted workers’ identity cards are scanned with a smartphone before they enter the mine, and their photos are taken using facial-recognition technology. This optimizes security, ensuring no unqualified or nefarious parties are involved.
  • Raw material originTo improve traceability, any sack of wolframite—the metal ore from which tungsten is extracted—sold by miners must have a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag attached to show exactly where it came from.
  • Raw material qualityThe quality of the ore is recorded in real time, offering heightened transparency to all stakeholders, so they can be sure the raw material is sourced safely and ethically—something everyone can feel good about.
  • Weight of sacks of oreEach sack leaving the mine is weighed to ensure it’s exactly 60 pounds. Because the technology offers immutability, it would be nearly impossible for someone to steal ore or alter the data.
  • Truck loadingDuring the refining process, the boxes of ore being loaded onto trucks for shipping are scanned for easy tracking and traceability.

Along various points in the shipping route, the following information is uploaded to the blockchain:

Hash: 00000

A two-by-two grid of right triangles with an animated blue-to-pink gradient fall into a white square that shifts right and fills with the same blue-to-pink gradient. Five parallel lines are drawn to the square from five labels: 'bill of lading', 'origin location and time', 'shipping progress and conditions', 'customs compliance', and 'receipt of delivery'.
  • Bill of ladingBefore loading processes commence, the bill of lading (BOL)—a receipt of freight services serving as a contract between freight carrier and shipper—is sent to the destination in seconds, boosting efficiency. With traditional paper-based systems, this can take days.
  • Origin location and timeBefore loading onto the ship, the RFID tag on every box of finished components is scanned with a smartphone. This level of traceability allows for easy verification that all quality-checked components have left the manufacturing plant as intended and have not been tampered with.
  • Shipping progress and conditionsLocation information is uploaded to the blockchain at set intervals, allowing stakeholders to estimate delivery time and ensure correct routing. Weather conditions are inputted, providing scheduling insights and reducing the risk of delays, which can bring down cost efficiency.
  • Customs complianceOnce the ship has reached its destination, compliance information is entered into the blockchain by customs officials, eliminating the need for time-consuming, error-prone paper-based systems. This boosts efficiency while providing assurance that all regulations are being met.
  • Receipt of deliveryAt the final destination, a shipping receiver opens the boxes using a specialized electronic device that only they have access to. They confirm the contents, triggering the creation of a receipt of delivery. This boosts transactional security, with no need for costly intermediaries.

Key steps of the component manufacturing process are recorded:

Hash: 00000

A polygon with an animated blue-to-pink gradient shatters into a three-by-three grid of right triangles with the same gradient effect. Five parallel lines are drawn to the triangle grid from five categories: 'facility certification', 'material quality, origin and weight', 'manufacturing steps completed', 'components tagged', and 'shipping box location'.
  • Facility certificationThe manager records the facility’s certification information so the shipping receiver at the next stage can confirm all safety and quality requirements have been met, speeding up the process and boosting efficiency.
  • Material quality, origin and weightWhen the refined ore arrives at the facility, workers use blockchain to verify quality, origin and weight, ensuring nothing has been tampered with and that best practices have been followed. This level of transparency allows for simpler, quicker quality control.
  • Manufacturing steps completedEach step of manufacturing is logged, reducing the risk of error and recalls caused by faulty construction. If errors do occur, the immutability offered by blockchain makes it nearly impossible for these incidents to be concealed. Quality test results are recorded as well.
  • Components taggedEach component is tagged to reduce the risk of counterfeit parts entering the supply chain, decreasing scrap and rework rates, as well as early product-testing failures. By reducing the risk of these expensive errors and fixes, cost efficiency is improved.
  • Shipping box locationEvery box of finished components is tagged with an RFID chip, providing easy traceability so the logistics provider at the next stage to confirm that nothing has been compromised. The company chooses RFID over QR Codes®4 as it allows multiple boxes to be scanned at once.

The electronics company uses blockchain for the following data during the distribution stage:

Hash: 00000

Various sized dots with animated blue-to-pink gradients grow out of a white silhouette representing a map of the United States. Five parallel lines are drawn to the map from five categories: 'origin and unloading', 'warranty', 'sourcing information', 'loyalty rewards', and 'inventory management'.
  • Origin and unloadingUpon arrival, each box of smartphones is scanned to verify its origin from the assembly facility. Workers upload data showing the time and location of unloading, triggering payment to the logistics provider. With no need for intermediaries, the company can boost cost efficiency.
  • WarrantyWhen a consumer purchase is made, it’s recorded on the blockchain. This transparency allows the warranty company to view the smartphone’s entire journey, from sourcing to consumer. When a customer files a claim, the company can easily verify the legitimacy of it.
  • Sourcing informationWithin the store, QR Codes® on various smartphone models can be scanned by consumers looking for the story behind the products. Not only does this traceability provide assurance that the products are ethically sourced, it also boosts the electronics company’s reputation.
  • Loyalty rewardsThe company and their affiliates use the blockchain for a loyalty platform, allowing consumers to keep track of all their rewards from these companies in one place. Reward points are updated in real time, increasing efficiency—and, just as importantly, driving customer loyalty.
  • Inventory managementBecause all transactions and activities have been recorded on the blockchain with immutability since initial sourcing, the electronics company is better able to forecast future demand, cutting down on the risk of excess inventory and allowing for cost-saving, proactive planning.

Utilizing blockchain, the electronics business records important aspects of the assembly process:

Hash: 00000

A two-by-two grid of white phones emerges from a white baseline; the phones contain right triangles with an animated blue-to-pink gradient. Five parallel lines are drawn to the phones from five labels: 'component origin', 'component quality', 'assembly steps', 'final product testing', and 'packaging'.
  • Component originUpon arrival at the assembly facility, the origin of the components is verified through RFID-tag scanning. Thanks to the immutability offered by blockchain, stakeholders can be sure that the components have been ethically sourced and have not been tampered with.
  • Component qualityThe quality of each component—as well as that of the other parts going into the final product—has already been verified at the manufacturing stage, and is simply confirmed at assembly. The traceability offered by blockchain eliminates the need for time-consuming tests at every step.
  • Assembly stepsEvery aspect of the assembly process is recorded into the blockchain. By analyzing this data over time, efficiency can be enhanced, as areas prone to error or waste can be identified and addressed. This also means any errors arising during final product testing can be traced quickly.
  • Final product testingOnce the smartphones are fully assembled, they’re tested to ensure all components are working properly and safely. Results are uploaded and verified across the network, boosting the security of the supply chain as the risk of costly recalls or reworks is greatly reduced.
  • PackagingNext, the smartphones are packaged. All packaging materials are scanned to determine origin and confirm the use of eco-friendly processes. Before leaving the facility, each packaged phone is scanned to record time and location, providing reliable traceability.
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