Blockchain and Manufacturing Facts and Myths 101

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One of the biggest buzzwords in the manufacturing industry is BLOCKCHAIN. Even though it is one of the most popular concepts in the manufacturing industry in particular — and in the computing world in general — it is also one of the most misunderstood. Let’s take a look at a general overview of what, precisely, blockchain is (and isn’t) and what the potential is for blockchain in the manufacturing industry.

Blockchain in Manufacturing: An Overview

According to CoinDesk, blockchain technology is specifically designed for enterprise solutions. Specifically, they’re designed to create digital trust between two parties that are doing business — thanks to blockchain technology, two parties can conduct both secure financial transactions and secure transmission of data.

Furthermore, a few companies — such as Maersk — have seen the benefits of blockchain technology in their own manufacturing businesses. Maersk, specifically, has enjoyed a partnership with IBM to help further their blockchain approach to business. In so doing, they’ve been able to — as an example — “put all documents involved in bulk shipping into a single template based on workflow; this workflow is then triggered when a producer submits the packing list for whatever commodity or good is being delivered to the shipper.”

Finally, but certainly, no less important, blockchain technology helps manufacturing companies maintain the integrity of important, sensitive data. This will help in the growing field of predictive analytics and, especially, machine autonomy.

Can Blockchain Transform The Manufacturing Industry?

According to ZDNet, blockchain technology is mostly known for its ledger transactional abilities (specifically because of its use with Bitcoin), but there are other ways that blockchain can be used to transform the manufacturing industry. For example, Gary Brooks, Chief Marketing Officer of Syncron, told the outlet that blockchain is in a position to transform the manufacturing industry because it is particularly useful with regards to the necessary verification and transparency that is part of the industry standard.

“Manufacturers leverage IoT and predictive analytics in their service parts supply chain to proactively repair equipment before it ever breaks down. Blockchain can provide an increased level of visibility into this process, as it would allow an entire global service supply chain to see when and where parts are moving to ensure the repair is made just in time,” he said.

What Else Can Blockchain Be Used For In Manufacturing?

According to Sage, blockchain has additional applications in manufacturing, as well. For example:

  • Blockchain can be integrated with the IoT (Internet of Things), different manufacturing apps, and artificial intelligence (AI).
  • Blockchain can automate processes through “smart contracts,” which are mostly used for payments. This can be good for B2B or B2C interactions between the manufacturers and their clients and/or suppliers.
  • If a buyer wishes to purchase directly from a manufacturer in bulk, blockchain can be used to aid with processing and purchasing, in addition to “providing visibility and verifiable data about what they are buying, where they are buying, and what they are paying.”

In short, while blockchain technology is not a cure-all for all of the manufacturing industry’s ills, it is something that can help revolutionize the industry for the better. Thanks to its ease of integration, its automation of processes, its aide in the transparency of transactions involving both data and currency, and its ability to allow secure transmission of documents, blockchain technology is, indeed, disruptive — in a good way — for the manufacturing industry.