With global supply chains in disorder, there is a need for innovative solutions. Distributed Ledger Technology—or DLT—could prevent common logistical issues and ensure more efficient supply chains in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted countless aspects of the way we live, including the extensive supply chains necessary for many organisations and essential processes to function. Trade restrictions and high numbers of workers self-isolating have resulted in unprecedented shortages of goods and products on a global scale.

In addition to these global problems, the UK is currently significantly affected by longer delays at borders since leaving the European Union. Retail goods, components used in manufacturing, medical supplies, and many more items are stuck in supply chains instead of reaching their intended destinations. The effects of this are concerning, wide-ranging, and affect almost every sector of the economy.

The need for advanced technological solutions to restore efficiency to supply chains is pressing. Technologies such as DLT have great potential to prevent future supply chain issues by addressing and overcoming common obstacles.

How can DLT solve supply chain issues?

While necessary, administration is a common cause of delays and hold-ups in supply chains. For example, goods crossing borders must be inspected and their compliance with national regulations checked.

This administration involves the sharing of a lot of data between organisations. Decentralised ledgers of immutable data can make sure that data is automatically and instantly accessible to every trusted party in a supply chain when it is needed, rather than having to be shared back and forth.

This is not just speculation—there are already examples of DLT reducing the need for complex supply chain administration. One example is SICCAR’s partnership with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) on a project that enabled all relevant parties in a supply chain of oats to easily provide reliable evidence of gluten content for compliance purposes. The shared data ledger of SICCAR’s platform securely stored this data for easy access by all trusted parties, increasing both accuracy and speed of the supply chain.

Could digital identity help supply chains?

On a larger scale, the European Commission has announced plans for a European Digital Identity wallet. The plans propose that each EU citizen will have access to a mobile app that enables ID authentication for various services, rather than relying on multiple authentication systems or physical passport checks. With logistics workers often frequently crossing borders, the amount of time saved by a decentralised digital identity could add up to a significant amount!

A similar DLT system applied to imports and exports could be hugely beneficial to global supply chains and remove many logistical challenges of border checks without sacrificing security. As in the case of SICCAR’s project with SRUC, the ability to accurately trace goods with ease could help importers tackle the issue of differing national regulations without needing large amounts of time and administration.

Efficiency of supply chains is essential for internal and inter-organisational working processes. DLT platforms like SICCAR can help organisations overcome common issues to increase the speed and accuracy of supply chain processes, benefiting organisations and the wider economy. To be among the first to try out the new version of SICCAR, join our Early Adopters’ Community.