What We Do with Blockchain (Hint, it’s about TRUST)

What We Do with Blockchain (Hint, it’s about TRUST)

 

Do you know how an airplane works? How about a car, a microwave, or the internet? Or do you just know those are the things you use when you want to fly, drive, warm up some food, or seek information? With rapid advancements in technology in the new century, the list of things that we don’t know about continues to grow – artificial intelligence, virtual reality, internet of things, blockchain. Let’s agree that most people do not need to know HOW these things work – we need to know WHAT they DO.

 

So, what does DLT Labs’ Platform do with blockchain?

 

DLT Labs’ Platform uses the attributes of blockchain technology to enable commercial trust between two or more groups or companies that use the same information to do business. DLT’s Platform establishes a joint workflow with trusted information. The groups involved know that they are on the same page with accurate information that is up-to-date (real-time) and the same for everybody. This saves time and reduces operating costs by eliminating disputes that arise from inaccurate or out of date information. Dispute resolution is a significant pain point because it is a lengthy, time-consuming, expensive and manual process which causes delays. These delays are expensive and stall business progress.

Here’s a real-life example of what we mean, using our client, the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart and its national network of carriers (truckers) which are moving goods throughout the nation every day.

 

Wal-Mart Canada has 11 distribution centres across the country which receive more than 500,000 inventory shipments annually. These goods are delivered by Wal-Mart’s own fleet of 180 tractors, 2,000 trailers with more than 350 drivers. Wal-Mart also uses about 70 other carrier companies, each with many trucks and drivers. The invoice process for the third-party network was complicated. Consider that there are nearly 200 variables for each shipment, capturing data points such as global positioning system (GPS) data, mileage, fuel surcharges, tolls, tariffs, shipment identification, accounting information, etc.. If you multiply 500,000 deliveries x 70 carriers x 200 variables per load, we’re talking about some 7-billion invoice permutations per year for Wal-Mart and its third-party carriers.

This process was previously done manually, so it was labour intensive to collect, input and verify each of the data points required to create each invoice. Adding to the complexity, each carrier has an individual and complex agreement with Wal-Mart (with different terms) as well as its own fleet management system so Wal-Mart managed a disparate and fragmented network. The entire process was time consuming and riddled with delays and expenses, with upwards of 20% of operating costs of shipments originating in invoice reconciliation. The majority of payments were late, but the more important consequence was the loss of trust among the network of shippers and carriers.

Wal-Mart asked us to find a better way to track and reconcile information for $12 billion of goods. The carriers wanted it, too. Everyone needed to be on the same page. They all needed accurate data to synchronize logistics and payment information. They all wanted a new way to decipher the information, collect one source of truth, and generate accurate invoices (with no differing facts), cost effectively and quickly. The ideal goal was the elimination of the manual and costly invoice dispute and reconciliation process. The goal was quicker payments, and improved trust.

 

Enter DLT Labs blockchain Platform.

 

Compared with existing enterprise technologies, DLT Labs’ Platform uses blockchain (also called distributed ledger technology) which inherently enables trust and visibility in a faster, cheaper and more reliable way – due to the capabilities of the technology.

 

WHAT blockchain DOES is get everyone on the same page at the same time and this enables commercial TRUST that the information is accurate, up-to-date, and the same for everybody.

 

Blockchain creates a permanent ledger that continually records all the various data points in real-time. In the case of Wal-Mart, there is a record for each shipment to establish a transparent, single version of truth for both parties. The shipper (Wal-Mart) and the related carrier (Bison Transport, CN Rail, or one of the 68 others in the network) have secure, permission-based access to the information as well, so everyone is on the same page. The 200 shipment data points are collected using IOT and human entry. The ledger records any and all changes in real-time and parties agree that what is recorded is an accurate representation of what did (or didn’t) happen. There are inherent questions in every invoice received. How do you know if the information on the invoice is right? Is the fuel surcharge correct? Are the tolls captured? Is this information accurate? Is it current? Does it represent what actually happened? Is this what we agreed? Check the information. Now you know.

Blockchain evidence is a proverbial digital handshake that the information is accurate and trusted. All day, every day. The trusted information is used to validate and execute against any agreement. In Wal-Mart’s case, the information is used to create invoices, quickly, accurately, and without the manual labour of the past processes. The end result (in this case) is that the carriers get paid faster. The records can be used as a compliance tool to check that the terms of your agreements have been followed. In the case of Wal-Mart, for instance, the agreement with X Carrier says fuel surcharges should be $$ and the technology ensures that the invoice matches the correct terms. Accurate information is a powerful business tool which can be used to analyze and forecast future activities, and/or automate procedures based on the recorded information. DLT’s blockchain Platform ensures that you know HOW things have been done.

 

HOW blockchain does this is by using the attributes of distributed ledger technology.

 

Blockchain creates a single source of truth on a virtual ledger – basically it represents the “same page” that everyone can see and use at the same time. This is a record of each party’s information that is updated and can be accessed in real-time. (We call this distributed.) Parties that need the information are the only ones who can see it. (We call this permissioned.) This information can be accessed, verified and used by everyone involved. (We call this visibility.) The attributes apply for uses the past, present and future. In the past, the record is permanent and cannot be changed. (We call this immutable.) In the present, it is real-time trusted information that can be shared. (We call this distributed ledger technology.) In the future, the information can be used for predictive or prescriptive analysis and automation, such as smart contracts. (We call this auditable.) Blockchain solutions allow businesses to reduce overhead costs and administrative processes and focus on their core businesses! (We call this cheaper.) DLT’s Platform is 80% built and the 20% configuration to a business’ specific needs can be done with a very quick turnaround. (We call this faster.) Get everyone on the same page at the same time – all day, every day. (We call this better.)

 

Is it hard to incorporate blockchain into my business?

 

DLT Platform doesn’t replace legacy systems; rather it is an additive that works with existing legacy systems and next generation technologies including IoT, AI, BI, etc.. Users require minimal training since most of the new technology lays behind their existing user interface. Whether it is being used for identity verification, invoice calculations, sales records, vendor rebate management, privacy consent, organic / fair trade certifications, royalty amounts, or monitoring maintenance and repair schedules, DLT Platform is industry and jurisdictionally agnostic in its ability to generate accurate real-time records. This is the commercial trust of the future – getting everyone on the same page at the same time.

The best news for Wal-Mart and our other clients is that blockchain technology is flexible and expandable for many mission critical tasks. DLT’s Platform has interoperable and rapidly configurable modules for freight management, invoice reconciliation, identity verification, record management, asset tracking, work flow, provenance, inventory management, privacy and consent, credential validation, rebate management, trade spends, maintenance check records, or recurring expense management. If you need this quickly, it’s important to note that DL Platform is already 80% built so the remaining 20% can be rapidly configured to a company’s specific mandate with a month or so. When you don’t know, you need commercial trust to get everyone on the same page. Now you know!

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