If you’re not entirely familiar with blockchain, it’s best to get a leg up and gain an understanding now. Blockchain breaks down the centralized systems that we’re accustomed to, and in doing so it brings about some significant advantages. This technology relies on a peer-to-peer network to validate transactions, and each transaction is detailed, yet encrypted. This means you can go through the blockchain and witness timestamped transactions, but you can’t hack or manipulate the chain—or even an individual block.
The automotive industry stands to gain quite a lot by utilizing blockchain strategies. Blockchain makes information available to everyone in participation, so the whole warehouse staff will be able to keep up with ease. The system encrypts data and updates itself every 10 minutes, and that also helps the supply chain run as efficiently as it can. It’s an excellent addition to the automotive industry when it comes to insurance claims and transparency, and the smart contracts it allows you to create can save you money. Keep reading and take a look at a dozen ways blockchain strategies can be used in the automotive warehouse.
Keeping Track of Inventory—Just like a more organized workspace can relieve stress and help you focus on productivity in the office, a more organized warehouse is much easier to run than one that doesn’t keep everything in a neat and consistent order. When you implement the blockchain, the challenges from keeping track of your inventory will be removed. There won’t be any guessing at how much of a certain product you have in store, and employees won’t even have to consult anyone to check on what’s available. Since blockchain makes it possible for everyone to access the same information as it’s being updated, there should be no confusion as to what is and isn’t in stock in the warehouse. In addition, workers will know how much is available, when the inventory was stocked and when it has run out.
Holding Individuals Accountable—Part of the reason the blockchain is so efficient is that everyone is held responsible for completing their duties. Human error will happen now and then, but the blockchain will let you look back and find out where the error occurred. This can lead to an opportunity to provide extra training for employees who aren’t as comfortable on the job as they could be, and it makes it more obvious when an individual employee makes the same mistakes. By making every step of the warehousing and shipping processes transparent, it’s easy to decipher where the problem lies so you can take steps to correct it. Workers may also perform better when they know that their performance is easy to track, so your team benefits as a whole.
Analyzing in Real Time—Blockchain might not update itself every second, but it does update every 10 minutes. This means you won’t have to wait around all day to get a realistic view of your inventory and the activity that happens in your warehouse. The blockchain is constantly digesting information and updating everyone at once, so all team members are up to date at all times. This is particularly helpful in today’s fast-paced environment, and it cuts down discrepancies as well as the risk of human error. Instead of waiting for the next person in line to give you an update on the progress, you’ll receive six updates every hour.
Protecting Your Data—As a system that began as a way to handle, protect and regulate cryptocurrency, blockchain does an excellent job of protecting data. It’s a tricky process to share information that’s constantly being updated between multiple parties without being at risk for a cybersecurity breach, but that’s exactly what makes blockchain so important. Blockchain is decentralized, so everyone has the same information regarding the specific tasks at hand, such as the changes in inventory and scheduled shipments. However, hackers will not be able to access this information, so there’s no risk of it falling into the wrong hands. This is an extremely valuable commodity to have whether you’re stocking auto parts or handling business transactions with your customers.
Being Transparent—No matter how big or small your company is, transparency is crucial. You might have a massive crew and an even bigger following, or you might be a startup that’s trying to find its groove; either way, it’s best to be as open as possible. Transparency reaches new heights with the blockchain, which freely communicates information between all parties involved. When a rim, wheel or bumper comes in, the supply chain will know about it. The same goes for an order so the chain can keep moving along. Blockchain uses a peer-to-peer network to authenticate transactions through multiple parties, so transactions can only be processed if they’re verified by users.
Following the Supply Chain—As it currently stands, the supply chain is one element of warehousing that can benefit the most from blockchain strategies. Employees won’t just know when a certain part comes in or how many of this given part are in stock; they’ll be able to track every individual auto part by a unique identification code. This contains information regarding the owner of the part, when it was manufactured and where it’s going to next. Blockchain aims to eliminate obstacles that would hold up the supply chain and, in turn, your business. This keeps the supply chain moving full speed ahead, so your customers won’t have to wait on the parts they need.
Dealing with Insurance Claims—When an insurance claim is filed, it’s typically because there has been some kind of accident. Car collisions result in broken parts and the need for repair, which means more parts will have to come out of your warehouse. Until the days of blockchain, dealing with insurance claims has been a bit ambiguous. Insurers have to decide how safe a specific driver is and how much coverage they’re willing to provide. Using the blockchain, sensors can detect a person’s driving habits, making it easier for insurers to make a more objective judgment of risk. Drivers who tend to be riskier on the road might not qualify for the best premiums, while those who have proven their responsibility can reap the rewards with lower costs. Since it’s easier to settle insurance claims, the parties involved can move on to repairing the vehicle and replacing parts with the help of your warehouse.
Creating Smart Contracts—Smart contracts present another way to cut out the third party and operate based on direct agreements with specific criteria. Unlike the contracts we’ve always been familiar with, these contracts are automatic. That means there’s much less room for flexibility, and everyone is strictly held to the agreement that was made. You won’t need to go through an intermediary, so the process won’t take nearly as long to settle. Smart contracts clearly outline the parameters of the agreement, as well as the penalties that can be incurred if the agreement is broken. In order for the contract to be valid, the criteria must be met. Once the criteria has been met and the contract is validated, a message is sent down the supply chain to manufacture or stock a product in its place.
Saving Money—It’s in your best interest to do anything you can do—within reason—to cut down costs and using the blockchain can help you do exactly that. When you take out the middleman, as is the case with a smart contract, you work directly with another party or entity. This means you won’t have to pay an intermediary to work between the two of you. It’s expensive and time-consuming to have a go-between when you’re involved with someone else, and thanks to blockchain strategy, you get to cut out the time and expense through smart contracts. This will become a more prominent advantage of this system once autonomous vehicles become more popular, and it will allow for a more objective approach to settling collisions and other incidents.
Handling Autonomous Cars—We’ve come a long way since the Ford Model-T, and the automotive industry is making strides at an exponential pace. It seems like we just started to figure out hybrid vehicles that run on electricity, and suddenly cars that drive themselves have become part of the picture. Autonomous cars are fascinating, but they present a problem when it comes to determining fault after a collision. However, blockchain has the solution. The smart contracts you can create through blockchain can use sensors to objectively analyze the situation and decide whether one party or both parties are at fault for the collision. There are many circumstances to consider when looking at a car accident, and the smart contract won’t have any problems handling them.
Getting Your Shipments Out—When the supply chain is running on schedule and your whole team is communicating, you can expect your automotive warehouse to be in good shape. The benefits associated with blockchain help you maintain a regular schedule that your distributors and customers can rely on. The warehouse is far up on the supply chain, and everyone needs to be ready and active, looking for updates so they can be prepared with the necessary shipping materials. Your employees will know if there are any mishaps to attend to, and they’ll know everything they need to know about the inventory when a product is sold.
Integrating Manufacturing—A lot of work goes into your products before, during and after their time in the warehouse. Blockchain offers you the ability to integrate the many processes that go into bringing your products to life. Like the Internet of Things, Genesis of Things brings the entire team together–from three-dimensional printers and designers to the customers themselves. A more cohesive and communicative team can produce a much better result, so the warehouse is a perfect place to implement this kind of strategy.
We are currently only in the beginning phases of blockchain, so we’ve yet to see where it can go. What we do know is that it can make business transactions safer and more secure, and it can help automotive companies realize their full potential. From warehouse organization and inventory tracking to accountability and smart contracts, we’re only beginning to surmise the potential that this revolutionary new system may have to offer. Blockchain will surely continue to shape the world we live in alongside the perpetual wave of technological advancement that we’ve come to appreciate.