Blockchain software technology can help cut logistics costs by streamlining production and distribution processes and is now ready to be applied to real-world operations, the CEO of global food distributor International Spirits and Beverage Group Inc. (ISBG) said Wednesday.
Houston-based ISBG had earlier announced Aug. 2 that it would partner with the West Palm Beach, Fla.-based engineering firm Bengala Technologies LLC with the goal of creating and adopting a blockchain-based supply chain management system.
In recent months, many companies across the logistics industry have said they would study blockchain technology or have joined industry groups like the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), but few firms have launched live applications of the technology.
One exception to that trend is the "TradeLens" joint venture between Maersk Line and IBM Corp. that announced yesterday it had signed up 94 logistics organizations to use the platform to share and track information. Blockchain can be used to create an online, distributed ledger that builds a transparent and indelible record of supply chain transactions, establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising its details, privacy, or confidentiality, IBM said.
Now ISBG says it is ready to launch its own application of the technology. In a letter to shareholders this week, ISBG CEO Terry Williams said the firm's blockchain technology "is already functional and will be implemented over coming quarters." ISBG plans to use blockchain for the purpose of "engineering more efficient processes for taking things from the farm to the store shelf across multiple markets," Williams said in the letter.
The company plans to combine blockchain and internet of things (IoT) technologies in an effort to "streamline all logistics involved in the production and distribution of alcoholic beverages," ISBG said when it announced the partnership with Bengala.
That effort could make an especially large impact on the complex network required for the production and distribution of spirits, the company said. ISBG said the steps required to get spirits from farmer to retailer include: registering, moving, tracking, selling, buying, quality control, paperwork, importation, exportation, taxes, and inventory.