THE BENEFITS OF BLOCKCHAIN: How can this emerging technology help your franchise's international supply chain?

Author:Mazero, Joyce

In response to a material defect or epidemic product failure anywhere along an international supply chain, a franchisor must be in position to react immediately in order to determine the provenance of the components or ingredients and track key information. Key information includes the identity of the manufacturer, production date, batch, registration and identification numbers, inventory availability, inspection history, authorizations, and related programs used to manufacture, assemble, inspect and distribute the product. In the food products supply chain, tracking is especially pivotal to address sources of contamination and adulteration in the products.


This can best occur by using the transparent and authentic record keeping of the secure, trusted environment that blockchain technology makes available. In this environment, no single authority holds the provenance and related information, but rather that information and the relevant logistics, food safety and regulatory data are readily available to the franchisor, manufacturer, franchisees and government authorities. This is so because the information in each transaction is agreed to by all members of the network at each step, and once there is a consensus, it becomes a permanent record that cannot be altered.

This is vastly different from the tracking and inspection systems of many supply chains that are still subject to paper processing and management. With limited accessibility to essential data on a timely basis, as well as the potential for alteration, errors and lack of consistent communication are exacerbated in the traditional system. This is in stark contrast to the immediate access of this same information via blockchain technology, which dramatically improves the franchisor's and manufacturer's ability to identify, assess and remedy the defect or other failure, including improving the ability to make product-specific recalls.


For example, information such as product origination details, batch numbers, factory and processing data, expiration dates, storage temperatures, and shipping details are digitally connected to the food products, entered into the blockchain and become accessible to all participants as the transactions proceed. In addition to food safety issues, the data provides a record that can help manufacturers and retailers improve management of inventory, including with respect to the products' shelf-life within a...

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