Blockchain is a distributed ledger structure that stores data immutable and centrally , while offering a system with an increasing list of reliable asset transactions without the requirement for a central authority.
The Blockchain technology holds immense potential to deliver business value in the manufacturing sector. The technology can enhance the visibility across every area of manufacturing starting from sourcing, procurement, suppliers, operations, monitoring and service.
Previously, the challenge of collecting and transferring data to the blockchain in industrial environments has threatened its feasibility. However, with the prevalence of internet access, cloud computing and the decreasing cost of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is now possible to generate, manage, and communicate data effectively.
In combination, blockchain and the Internet-of-Things have the ability to generate immediate benefits and revolutionize manufacturing and its supply chains.
Digitalizing the supply chain
Cloud-based platforms, such as Siemens Mindsphere IoT platform, provide means to capture data across supply chains.
Ready made blockchain applications make it easy to subscribe and contribute. These applications also allow companies to limit information viewing privileges. In this way, sensitive information can be kept behind closed doors, while exposing only critical information to other members of the supply chain.
Data from shopfloor systems, equipment, and IoT sensors are packaged and sent through Secure Cloud Gateways to the blockchain.
Siemens is actively developing both modules for its existing software and custom IoT sensors to send data directly to the blockchain.
Realizing the benefits
A recent Boston Consulting Group (BCG) analysis compared an IoT plus blockchain solution to an IoT solution without blockchain could “achieve net savings equal to 0.6% of revenues,” on logistics and storage alone. Largely, these benefits are driven by real-time trace-ability combined with smart contracts, allowing for improved inventory holding, brokerage fees, fraud prevention and more.
As blind spots in the supply chain are further illuminated, a full trace-ability record can be built. This record can reduce recall periods and enable better root-cause analysis.
Leveraging custom rules and smart contracts, brand owners and consumers can validate product authenticity or other important claims using data from the blockchain.
Furthermore, typical cloudbased IoT platforms are equipped to handle data sources such as consumer feedback, weather forecasts, business reports, etc. By combining new data written to the blockchain with these systems and applying advanced analytics capabilities offered on the platform, completely new insights can be achieved.