Every day, we hear about how blockchain is a revolutionary technology that is changing the supply chains across various industries. From Pharmaceuticals to Logistics to FMCG, you name any industry, and you will find numerous use-cases where Blockchain has been implemented to add trust and traceability in the supply chain process.
In this article, we are going to share with you the Blockchain Supply chain solution, which we designed and developed for a Crop tracking start-up based in Chicago, Illinois.
The client came to us with a concept to develop a blockchain-based SaaS platform where crop-producers can track the journey of their crop from the farm to the end customer. The idea behind building it on a Distributed Ledger Technology is to introduce transparency, traceability, and authenticity to the products in the supply chain.
Our Recommended Digital Solution
When we started working on this digital solution, we studied many applications available in the market to create, track, and manage supply chains. None of them was a blockchain-based SaaS platform. Most of the applications were complicated to use from the perspective of small farmers and crop-producers.
Based on this study, our Business Analysis and User Experience team came up with a supply chain process where the crop or the product can be added, labeled, shipped, tracked and authenticated with an easy-to-use web application for Crop Procurement Managers, a mobile app for Field Managers and End Customers who will consume that product.
Process for Procurement Managers
In the recommended process, we classified the entire crop/produce based on similar properties, i.e., harvesting date, Best before date, Farm, Quality, etc., as a single Batch.
Let’s take an example of a fresh crop of apples that has reached the packing facility for packing and dispatch. All the apples in this crop have the same harvesting date, best before date and are produced on the same farm under the same farming conditions. All these apples belong to Batch #A.
The Procurement Manager will create a new batch in the web application and for each batch, he will add the products which are going to be shipped as orders. He can add fields in the batch according to his product requirements and can define the visibility of these fields to end customers. E.g., if he wants to add amount field instead of a weight field, he can do it from here.
So, if we have 100 apples in a batch #A, there can be 10 products boxes of 10 apples each (Product #1, Product #2, Product #3…), which are going to be shipped as order X.
Each Product box will have a unique QR code generated through the system, and this QR code acts as the identity of this box across the supply chain.
The orders are created using the Create Order section of the procurement manager application and are assigned to a particular field manager/executive based on their location. He can also add the names of other team members who can access, Check-in, and Check-out these products in the supply chain.
If required, he can add the names or roles of the users who can mark this product as consumed using an app.
After orders are created and assigned to the field users, the procurement manager can check the status and trace the products using the tracking screen. He can check the inventory of each storage unit and can recall products if required.
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Process for Field Managers
Field users are the people in the supply chain who are going to manage the warehouse, inventory, and delivery and consumption of the products in the supply chain. They can be located in different locations across different countries.
iPhone and Android apps were created for the field users using which they can check-in, check-out orders and manage inventory just by scanning the QR code. In case any product is missing or found damaged in the order, they can inform about it to the procurement manager with the report feature in the app.
Process for End Users and Consumers
When the products are shipped to the retail stores, the consumers can check the information related to the product by scanning the QR code via any QR code scanner app. It will trigger a URL using which the consumer can verify the authenticity and check other information related to the product.
With the introduction of blockchain and our digital solution, we were to able to create a product which has the following advantages as compared to other products in the market at that time;
- Customization: Crop Producers can customize the batches as per their product requirements. A box of Apples will have different product information as compared to a pack of essential oils. Our solution allowed crop producers to create and save templates for specific products.
- Traceability: Each product is assigned a unique QR code when it is packed. Using a web-based system and a mobile app, all the products can be tracked live across the supply chain via QR code.
- Transparency: Batches, Products, Order information, Check-in and Check-Out details are saved on Blockchain and are available to interested parties for auditing and tracking.
- Authenticity: Since information once saved on the blockchain cannot be edited or removed, the data always remains immutable. Therefore, the authenticity of a product can be verified by scanning the QR code using any third party QR scanner app.
- Fraud Reduction: Once purchased, consumers are prompted to mark it as consumed to remove that QR code from the supply chain and it stops any misuse of that QR code for creating fake or duplicate products.
If you are also planning to implement blockchain in agriculture supply chain, share your project idea with our blockchain consultants and they will provide you a new innovative solution.
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