VeChain: Blockchain's Supply Chain Management Powerhouse
VeChain leverages blockchain tech to revolutionize supply-chain management — with an eye toward making international commerce more transparent, fair, and efficient.
Updated March 15, 2021 • 3 min read
As one of the leading blockchain-based supply chain management solutions, VeChain is designed to mitigate challenges that businesses regularly face in their supply chain process. Employing proprietary solutions like ToolChain, My Story™, and the VeChainThor blockchain, enhanced by the IoT (Internet of Things) technology, VeChain is working to make international commerce more transparent, equitable, and efficient. This article focuses on VeChain’s ToolChain system, and how it helps provide next-generation solutions for perishable goods logistics, inventory and warehousing management, and enhances the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI).
Introduction to VeChain’s ToolChain System
ToolChain was built to offer a turnkey solution that seeks to limit costs and simplify product distribution for businesses across the globe. ToolChain is a Business-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform providing a variety of services that can be used by many types of businesses. The platform helps deliver to and validate data on the blockchain, enabling businesses to streamline supply chain and product management processes. The ToolChain platform offers three distinct versions:
Standard Version: ToolChain standard was built specifically to help smaller businesses track their products and maintain the integrity of their supply chains.
Partner Version: The partner version of ToolChain is a white-label, turnkey system that is typically used by large corporations (often consulting and IT Service Management firms). ToolChain’s partner version allows corporations to apply Business-to-Business-to-Customer practices (B2B2C) allowing for the development of customizable solutions.
Developer Version: ToolChain’s developer version was built so software engineers could use different types of application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs) to deploy their own customized applications on the VeChainThor blockchain.
ToolChain helps business owners implement online product management platforms. Along with the VeChain Mobile Work App, ToolChain gives users the ability to manage their product stock and orders from manufacturing to sale. The system allows enterprises to scan their goods and upload data used to trace them directly onto the VeChainThor blockchain. ToolChain comes with a VeChain ID purchasing module that consists of near-field communication (NFC) chips and radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips, along with a quick response code (QR code) printer for generating QR codes.
NFC chips are used to create digital labels for products, and can act as a sensor on the product. They work in unison with a QR code scanner and RFID chips. QR codes, NFC chips, and RFID chips are attached to different types of products through Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, which directly communicate with VeChain’s blockchain. This IoT-driven sensor mechanism cryptographically verifies product location data and gives the shipper transparency throughout transport.
By working in unison with the VeChainThor blockchain, ToolChain can be used to track and authenticate products such as clothing, food, wine, electronics, art, and luxury goods — reducing counterfeits in the process. Because there are so many use cases for this technology, we will focus mainly on VeChain’s Consumer Confidence Index and logistics solutions in this article.
VeChain’s Consumer Confidence Index and Perishable Goods
In early 2018, VeChain formed a partnership with internationally accredited registrar and product assurance specialist DNV GL to use the VeChainThor blockchain for a range of verification purposes. One such purpose is the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) — designed for perishable or extremely delicate products such as food and wine.
The index analyzes a product’s logistics, production, sourcing, and consumption. This analysis gives consumers access to important product information such as moisture and toxicity levels, temperature, product weight, harvesting procedures, and product freshness. To ensure an accurate Consumer Confidence Index information, DNV GL follows a strict auditing process by working directly with producers during each step of the supply chain process to verify that all information compiled is accurate and factual.
Through the VeChain Mobile Work App, employees upload data to the VeChainThor blockchain. The data can be in the form of photographs, videos, or written data. By scanning the My Story™ QR code on the product with a smartphone via the VeChain Pro App, product data can be verified in-store by the end customer. Using a mathematical model, the information uploaded to the VeChainThor blockchain is used to calculate the Consumer Confidence Index.
VeChain’s Blockchain Logistics
The logistics industry faces numerous challenges — including poor data collection, falsified data, and data isolation. In other words, data is often of low quality and quantity (or even completely wrong), and often cannot be properly accessed by all parties involved. VeChain’s proprietary ToolChain platform, IoT technology, the VeChainThor blockchain, and the VeChain ID purchasing module (including QR codes, NFC chips, and RFID chips) work together to mitigate many of these data issues. Large ports around the world employ a highly complex system to ensure goods are delivered to the correct place at the right time.
Enterprises that transport goods (via trains, ships, delivery trucks, and more) also run into related complexities. In a similar way to how the Consumer Confidence Index solution works, IoT-based QR codes, NFC chips, and RFID chips (each with their own VeChain ID) can be attached to products that have been registered on the VeChain blockchain via the online ToolChain product management system. This process facilitates product tracking and authentication through cryptographic verification, as well as a time stamping process to ensure immutability.
DNV GL works with their clients to set data standards and provide third-party verification services that identify and address problems before they occur, thus making the entire system run more efficiently. When large enterprises are better able to track complex data, it allows them to streamline their business models. This improves delivery times, product traceability, warehouse management, and product quality while mitigating potential theft and loss. Such improvements can ultimately translate to more profits and a better customer experience.
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