Streamlining the Cold Supply Chain with a Blockchain Powered Solution

The supply chain ecosystem has become extremely complex with an ever-increasing number of players involved in developing, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of products. One of the most indispensable links of the supply chain that concerns the transport, as well as storage of temperature-controlled logistics (food and pharmaceutical) is the cold chain. Over the years, the cold supply chain landscape has undergone major changes, with 90 % of nearly all shipments making up for controlled room temperature products (CRT). However, managing the Cold-Chain integrity for perishable food items and biopharmaceuticals such as vaccines has become challenging with half of the products being lost in transit leading to escalating costs and low accessibility.

Research report revealed by World Health Organization claim that every year, around 400,000 people across the globe die from foodborne illness, with every 1 in 10 people suffering from illnesses from food contamination. Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies are facing increased regulatory pressure to ensure the quality and potency of medicines in transit or in storage as nearly half of them either get lost or contaminated as a result of exposure to unsafe temperature ranges.

These statistics speak volumes about the grim realities of the food and pharma supply chain ecosystem. Moreover, the inefficiency of the current track and trace system has led to severe financial, as well as reputational damage for FMCG and pharma companies. Furthermore, being time and temperature sensitive safe delivery of these products become extremely crucial. This creates an urgent need to bring in place an intelligent supply chain solution that could provide better supply chain visibility by tracking the journey of a product from beginning till the end.

Blockchain – a decentralized and distributed ledger technology could help reconcile the complexities of the cold supply chain ecosystem by speeding up logistics, reducing discrepancies, increasing cost-savings, streamlining processes and increasing visibility of products while moving through the supply chain. Here’s how Blockchain brings advantages for every stakeholder in the food and pharma cold supply chain. Let’s discuss each one of them individually:

For the food cold chain, Blockchain brings the following benefits:

Improved Traceability and Visibility:

Since, tokenization of assets using Blockchain enables traceability of products in the supply chain, it can be used to immediately identify the point where food has been tampered with so that contaminated food is removed before it reaches to the store shelves. This alleviates the need for expensive batch recalls while curbing the instances of illnesses and deaths caused as a result of contaminated food.

Preventing Fraudulence:

The complex food supply chain with multiple actors is vulnerable to errors that are usually motivated by fraudulent intentions. Being a decentralized platform, Blockchain can bring an end to these activities by tracking and recording any action done in bad faith by individual participants. Since, data or transaction once uploaded on Blockchain is immutable, immediate and necessary action can be undertaken.

Also Read: Addressing the Pain Points of Food Industry by Implementing Blockchain in the Food Supply Chain

Increased Brand Loyalty and Customer Safety:

Since, Blockchain offers supply chain transparency, consumers can be assured of the safety of food they are consuming. This happens because Blockchain has the potential to offer customers with information regarding the journey of product (food) right from farm till fork. For instance, customers can retrieve full history of a food item by scanning the smartcode printed on a food package.

Quicker Payment:

Since, Blockchain does away with the need for intermediaries, cost savings increases. Furthermore, due to automated functionality offered by smart contracts over Blockchain, ready availability of validated data is possible, which in turn ensures quicker and proper payments to stakeholders involved in the food supply chain.

The pharmaceutical cold chain, Blockchain brings the following benefits:

Blockchain Cold Supply Chain - Pharma

Improved Traceability of Drugs:

Since, the pharmaceutical industry is a highly regulated industry, Blockchain helps achieve compliance by offering serialization authentication along with tracking capabilities. Besides preventing counterfeiting and tampering of drugs, Blockchain ensures continual flow of vital drugs to ensure that patients receive proper and timely treatment.

Improved Inventory Management:

Blockchain provides an efficient way of filling up the gaps created by legacy systems that were used for inventory management. By anticipating stock shortages, improving data integrity and distribution, this technology can help businesses manage and control their inventory efficiently.

Supply chain Integrity:

The smart contract functionality of Blockchain could be leveraged for streamlining supply chain processes thereby ensuring supply chain integrity. Since, Smart contracts defines terms and condition of an agreement, it can help mitigate fraud while lower costs by eliminating intermediaries involved in payment and other transactions.

Read More: How is BlockChain Contributing to the Efficient Management of Pharma Supply Chain?

The Way Ahead:

Blockchain is poised to transform the cold supply chain ecosystem. When applied to the cold chain, blockchain can securely document the storage temperatures of a product throughout its journey in a supply chain. This helps stakeholders anticipate and identify potential sources of contamination thereby helping them avoid costly recalls while ensuring customer safety.

How Can Blockchain Streamline the Fragmented Agricultural Ecosystem?

The agricultural sector of the country is the primary means of income for over 58% of the rural families. Yet it is plagued by several problems and challenges. However, the grim situation of the Indian Agricultural industry has finally managed to gather the focus and attention it rightly deserves with the Central Government encouraging the adoption and implementation of disruptive technologies such as AI, IoT and Blockchain to resolve issues plaguing the Agri industry. In fact, PM Narendra Modi in his inaugural speech during the 22nd Edition of the World Congress on Information Technology strongly advocated and encouraged the adoption of these technologies across different industries with a special mention about the agriculture and horticulture sectors.

Today, with rising awareness amongst the customers, as well as the farmers regarding food safety, better equity etc. the need to have a robust system that can resolve some of the major agri-related problems does makes sense. Blockchain – A distributed ledger technology, provides the necessary technology infrastructure for automating and digitizing the incredibly complex agriculture ecosystem.

Listed below are some of the interesting and practical use cases of Blockchain in the Agriculture Industry.

blockchain in agriculture

Food Safety:

Consumer consciousness regarding the safety of the food they are consuming is increasing day by day. This is because food-related diseases and illnesses have become more common today than they were a couple of decades back. This requires bringing transparency to the agriculture supply chain that will help identify and weed out poor processes, as well as poor players. An IoT powered Blockchain based system provides growers with real-time data that can help them monitor soil quality, irrigation, pests for crops under cultivation and monitor storage conditions, freshness, in-transit conditions for harvested crops in a precise way while enabling them to take appropriate measures. These records that are uploaded on a Blockchain are immutable thereby ensuring better accountability and traceability.

Food Supply Chain:

The food supply chain is incredibly complex and inefficient due to information asymmetry. This directly impacts farmers who fail to receive their due share. By taking the food supply chain over Blockchain, the incredibly complex food supply ecosystem can be simplified. Since, Blockchain allows easy, as well as equal data access to all the participant of chain including farmers, distributors, retailers, regulators and customers, data management becomes more transparent and simplified. With a more democratic supply chain, issues related to fair and transparent pricing will be resolved with stakeholders receiving their due share of remuneration.

Read More: Addressing the Pain Points of Food Industry by Implementing Blockchain in the Food Supply Chain

Authenticity of Agri Inputs:

While farmers are unaware of the authenticity of the agri inputs (seeds and fertilizers) they are buying, retailers tend to make great profit margins. While farmers are at a certain loss, big agri-input players also suffer huge financial losses due to counterfeit products, which also impairs their brand image. With a Blockchain solution in place, each product right from agri input manufacturer to the purchaser can be traced thereby helping farmers and other stakeholders to know about the origin of the product thereby ensuring its authenticity.

Land Registration:

Land registering or recording is a tedious process with fraud and disputes over land holdings being rampant. Blockchain can help deal with abysmal state of land records by providing a platform where data can be collected, stored and secured in a transparent and easy to access manner. Being a decentralized platform, the data recorded is easily accessible to all the participants thereby ensuring complete transparency within the system. This will result in huge cost savings for the record keeping firms as maintaining records is an expensive and labor-intensive process. Furthermore, smart contract functionality of Blockchain can allow farmers and corporate firms in easy contracting of land leasing. Also, it will also make public distribution of social schemes for farmers accessible and transparent.

Read More: Smart Contracts to Speed-Up Land Registration Process

Insurance:

One of the major issues that farmers have to deal with is unpredictable weather conditions. While they have no control over calamitous weather conditions, they can protect themselves from commodities risk by the means of crop insurance. However, inefficient claims processing system built on legacy technologies makes processing of claims a slow process and fails to offer any respite to the farmers especially when they need it the most. With a Blockchain solution in place, the entire crop insurance sector can be streamlined. The smart contract functionality solution uses weather observation data gathered from IoT sensors to trigger terms and conditions so that capital for claims could be settled. While farmers receive the necessary compensation required to meet the crisis, the insurers too become free of processing huge number of claims, as the entire process is automated by the smart contract functionality.

Fair Disbursement of Subsidies:

Yet another issue that plagues the agriculture industry is the unfair distribution of government allocated funds and subsidies to the farmers. In fact, how much of the allocated funds actually reach the growers remains a matter of concern. However, with a Blockchain solution in place, the distribution of subsidies become more transparent and targeted. While the entire process of bringing together multiple stakeholder isn’t easy yet with a technology solution like Blockchain, achieving information decentralizing and handing it over to the participants of the network becomes possible.

The Future:

With the growing demand for food security, better equity for farmers, land digitization and more, there arises the need for a system that can bring in the required transparency. Blockchain – A distributed ledger technology besides bringing the transparency and traceability, also offers a technology infrastructure that can do away with the inefficiencies of the current legacy system. We can thus infer that Blockchain technologies offers a fertile opportunity for the agriculture industry to grow and prosper.

Can Blockchain Help to Find the Cure for Cancer?

Of all the diseases that have plagued the human race in decades, cancer tops the list for being the most grievous one. The name itself makes shivers run down the spine, for what this dreadful disease results in. While the medical science and technology is evolving day by day, still there is no assured or potential cure to cancer.

Lot of funds are at work to research for a cure.You will find plenty of foundations, collecting fund for the ‘cause’. We donate to the research and remain clueless about use and results of the funds.

As per the recent release of Google, its Artificial Intelligence is able to make predictions when a person will die. These predictions are up to 95% accurate.

“When an AI program can predict the unseen, then why can’t it find a cure for the disease that causes over 9 million deaths every year?”

Artificial Intelligence is an algorithm that works on pools of data, to recognize patterns, to create an understanding and learn from them. To work on cancer and to find a potential cure, AI would require data from across hospitals’ cancer databases and run calculations. It may be the greatest attempt till date. Then why aren’t we doing it? Because of the Doctor-Patient Confidentiality Clause and acts like HIPAA, hospitals cannot release private information of their patients, creating a complete drought of data for AI programs.

How to connect AI to the pool of hospitals’ cancer databases then?

The answer to this challenge lies with Blockchain, a decentralized and distributed ledger technology. Similar to any other industry, Blockchain technology in healthcare is restructuring how this industry functions. Unlike the centralized data pools, the data can be shared on Blockchain while maintaining complete anonymity of the patients’ personal details. This will not infringe Doctor-Patient Confidentiality Clause or acts like HIPAA. AI can then access the data from across the hospitals, to recognize different patterns of how cancer is caused, how it functions and how it can be treated.

Furthermore, Pharmaceutical Industry will be aided with this combination of Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, where having access to such patient data bases will enable AI to discover better treatments for various diseases, including cancer. In this manner, Blockchain and Pharmaceutical Industry, working in tandem with Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence will be highly beneficial in making incredible breakthroughs.

Ensuring Efficient Implementation of CSR Activities with a Blockchain Based Solution

In the words of Winston Churchill “Responsibility is the Price of Greatness”

Firms and businesses have a similar responsibility, as well as commitment towards the social and economic development of their stakeholders, community and the society at large. In fact, the practice of CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility as a business model has evolved from being a slogan that was considered trendy by some firms to the current era where it has become more of a business requirement rather than just an option.

Continue reading “Ensuring Efficient Implementation of CSR Activities with a Blockchain Based Solution”

How is BlockChain Contributing to the Efficient Management of Pharma Supply Chain?

The Life Sciences or Pharmaceutical industry has been struggling to deal with the challenges related to drug counterfeiting and ineffective supply chain management. Apart from this, it is also combating the high cost of bringing new drugs to the market, along with new standards. As a result, preventing theft, counterfeiting and forgery, while minimizing cost and improving compliance has become the utmost priority for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. To remain competitive, businesses require adopting a game-changing technology that can resolve most, if not all the current issues associated with compliance and traceability.

Continue reading “How is BlockChain Contributing to the Efficient Management of Pharma Supply Chain?”