Inventory traceability is a third area in which Blockchain can prove very helpful. Local, company, and industry regulations often require suppliers to certify a part’s origins. Blockchain can provide such provenance certification, which would make maintenance and repair of faulty parts easier, virtually eliminating counterfeit and rogue parts. This level of authentication is particularly important in fields like nuclear energy and aerospace, where sub-standard parts can have serious consequences. A leading engine manufacturer is working on developing Blockchain-based solutions to maintain such an encrypted audit trail to track parts. Equally applicable in a consumer foods context, a major retailer plans to use Blockchain to digitally track perishable food to reduce waste, improve contamination management and enhance the safety of food.
According to a recent Accenture and DHL report,4 Blockchain can help set up a digital twin of a physical asset. In auto manufacturing, Blockchain can connect new vehicles with their digital twins to keep an updated, secure, and accurate record of maintenance records and odometer readings—even when a vehicle changes owners’ hands. This way manufacturers can get critical feedback on performance and predict maintenance issues, helping them improve production quality and service vehicles more efficiently. A major French automaker is looking to achieve this objective by launching a Blockchain-based digitized car maintenance log prototype.
Blockchain can truly enable the digital factory and, in the process, transform manufacturing to spur significant growth, boost profitability, and increase sustainability. With a collaborative, secure digital factory in place, manufacturers can develop a trust-based relationship with all supply chain partners, promoting better supplier management, lower contract costs, an optimal demand-and-service model with enhanced regulatory compliance, improved security, and stronger reputational protection. This powerful digital ecosystem can help achieve heightened transparency and business accountability to form the basis for collaborative innovation and generate overall customer value.
Given its potential, manufacturers should look closely at where they can use Blockchain in the factory. Any process that requires significant collaboration, traceability, or strong security should be the top target areas for executives looking to make their company more agile, secure, competitive, and profitable.
1 Accenture, “Industry X.O: Combine and Conquer: Unlocking the Power of Digital,” 2017.
2 Accenture 2018 Technology Vision research.
4 “Blockchain in Logistics,” DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, 2018.