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RFID and Blockchain Are Changing Supply Chains

The technologies are only just beginning to work together, but they could have a positive impact on the logistics industry in the future.
By Luke Hatkinson-Kent
Apr 11, 2018

Blockchain is the technology best-known for powering cryptocurrencies, used to make safe and secure transactions from one person to another. Rather than having to rely on a third party such as a bank to make such transfers, this offers a trusted and cheaper method to do so. Now, blockchain technology is being incorporated into other industries, such has been its success and popularity. In the logistics sector, blockchain and RFID concepts are being developed together to improve various areas of the industry.

Use of a Single Ledger
AP Moller-Maersk and IBM began working on a joint venture at the start of 2018 to improve the safety and efficiency of supply chains through using blockchain technology. Already the platform has gained interest from multinational companies, such as General Motors, such is its promise.

The idea is to form an unchangeable record of transactions throughout a supply chain that can be shared with all companies involved along the way. Through blockchain technology, the distributed ledger technology would allow information about each transaction across the process to be viewed and not changed. This could highlight where any issues are and help businesses involved make changes to improve efficiencies.

Pallet and Parcel Deliveries
RFID tags are being incorporated into supply chains and delivery processes as well. One vision is for pallets to have an RFID tag attached to them, which are used to communicate their need to get from one place to another by a certain time.

Carriers which best meet a shipper's price and service requirements will be awarded the business. Blockchain technology will then continue to track the shipment. This can help to reduce factoring and delivery costs, while for the likes of food and pharmaceutical deliveries it improves traceability as well.

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