By Guest Blogger Larisa Rapaport, Partner Squarmilner & Manufacturing Enthusiast

Blockchain technology is on the rise in the manufacturing and distribution industry. Airlines use it to monitor the maintenance of their fleet. Retailers and wholesalers developed custom blockchain databases in response to recent scares with foodborne illnesses. (From Farm to Blockchain: Walmart Tracks Its Lettuce, New York Times)

These retail use cases are in turn affecting manufacturers, particularly food producers in the near term.

As intelligent automation gains traction across a number of industries, manufacturing, and distribution, the blockchain possibilities continue to mount.

A blockchain is a decentralized ledger of all transactions in a network. Generally, each user has a copy of the same ledger. Transactions on a blockchain do not have to be financial – they simply represent a change in whichever data point the blockchain’s stakeholders track.

With increased efficiency in processing transactions, companies are looking to blockchain to solve a number of problems impacting manufacturing. For example, blockchain can connect ledgers from across a supply chain to improve the accuracy and efficiency of product tracking. Improved tracking capabilities can turn a manual, multi-day process into an automated function that requires only seconds.

The value of blockchain technology in manufacturing is evident in different sectors like retail and wholesale. For example, when contaminated produce infiltrates the market, grocery chains and other retailers clear their shelves. However, Walmart is trying to improve this tactic. (Walmart-Led Blockchain Effort Seeks Farm-to-Grocery-Aisle View of Food Supply Chain, The Wall Street Journal)

In 2018 the retail giant announced the implementation of blockchain technology to track every bag of spinach and head of lettuce. The new system requires hundreds of farms growing their produce to input detailed information into a blockchain database. With each supply chain stop, those handling produce for Walmart makes an entry on the blockchain, signing off when they receive it and when they move it onto the next person. Effectively, the company tracks food from the field to the store and every step in between. Blockchain even allows them to determine the field and harvest time of each product. Now when another foodborne illness strikes, the retailer can pinpoint and discard only the food at risk.

Walmart is not the only retailer implementing blockchain technology. Their system – IBM Food Trust – has been developed for other consumer companies, including Dole, Wegmans and Unilever, to track products moving through the supply chain.

Blockchain opens a number of possibilities for M&D. Read the full article at squarmilner.com and discover how Squar Milner’s M&D practice can help your company stay ahead of the game and the industry trends.

About the Author

Larisa Rapaport is a partner at Squar Milner, one of the largest California based CPA firms with over 450 professionals with offices located throughout California and the Cayman Islands.