How blockchain will revolutionise inventory management
Blockchain technology is amazing. Sadly, it is most known for bitcoins and other virtual currencies, where the added value of the technology has little to no meaning to humankind. At the end of the day, Bitcoins just create a lot of CO2 for nothing.
However, as with other buzzword technologies like AI, deep learning and neural networks, even blockchain makes a very strong case for use in the supply chain. While others bend modern IT to their products, only to send out a flashy press release and end up with useless products like AI-powered washing machines, the supply chain industry has already found many uses of modern IT - saving lives, the climate, and holding our society together in the midst of never-ending global crises.
The reason for this is that the supply chain industry produces data, big data, huge data! Not only does it produce large amounts of information, it also creates information that can be shared globally and has meaning on any side of the supply chain. On such grounds, modern IT principles flourish and find ways to save time and money like no human ever could, just like we do at Inventoro.
Blockchain technology also has its place in logistics. However, as opposed to AI and deep learning principles, it hasn’t yet reached its full industrial scale potential, although it easily could. In time, it could save our planet because it can create a universal inventory language that anyone can understand and read.
The point here is that, inventories are universal. Whether you are in Europe, the US, Africa, Asia or indeed Antarctica, a warehouse is a building with shelves - and inventory items on those shelves. Despite these similarities, organisations find it hard to exchange data about their inventories throughout the supply chain. This is because they all use different inventory management software.
Inventory management software creators do not speak the same language, because they all have different structures for their databases. They store their data differently, in different fields. Despite how far we have come with API integrations, it is still not enough to create smooth, efficient connections for machine-to-machine communication - it just doesn’t work properly.
Now this is where blockchain technology could make a huge disruption in the way the global economy is connected. If each product had its digital twin in the form of a blockchain token, and these were connected into one huge World Inventory Web (WIW), then no inventory management systems would need to share their database and would just source the data from the WIW.
For example, think of a barcode on steroids. The token would hold information not only about the product itself, but also about its whereabouts, ownership, destination, price, expiration date, or almost anything society would need to know about their objects of desire.
As products would travel through the supply chain, their blockchain digital twins would travel with them, just changing owners every now and then.
The possibilities of optimisation when looking at all products in one huge web would be endless, surely resulting in substantial CO2 reduction on a global scale. The system would also become faster and much more predictable.
The great thing about blockchain technology is that it is decentralised, making it very hard to hack or use for any misconduct. This means that the WIW cannot be created in a corporation, as it must remain in the public domain to become a popular norm, just like the internet did.
This is the biggest obstacle for the WIW to ever become a dominant technology. The code itself would not be too complicated to formulate , but if nobody can profit from it, then who will invest in it? And why? The answers to these questions are layered and complicated but eventually, someone will step up and create it. The benefits are just too large to ignore.