While the blockchain theme in Italy is spreading across a growing number of events and publications, there are vast pockets of business entities- from small to large- that still totally ignore it. For these companies a continuous activity of information
and diffusion remains necessary. There are- on the other side- fewer companies that have understood the scope of blockchain technology and are verifying its possible applications.
In light of this market situation the Community NdT operates in two scenarios:
Education: Increasing the level of awareness of blockchain through web seminars and informative articles and blog posts.
Application: Helping companies meet and exchange opinions and experiences during the sensitive phase of transitioning from discussion to putting ideas into practice.
Community NdT is the meeting point between companies that want to "stick their nose" and practically test things before believing. These are companies that do not want to rely on heard or pre-packaged solutions, but they want to try out first.
Within Community NdT’s aggregation initiatives a first workshop with about ten companies was enough to generate a large number of possible use cases, some of which have already captured the interest of the participants.
Tracking code for containers: this is the shipping code commonly used by couriers (e.g. DHL, Bartolini- Italian courier, FedEx) that allows customers to track the shipment progress by accessing a portal. This convenient system is not currently available
for more complex shipments of containers by truck, plane, or train. Since multimodality is a frequent option, blockchain-based applications make it possible to trace the container in the various hand-offs between carriers, always ensuring the certainty of
information collected from each carrier’s information system. In this use case blockchain acts like a data integration and harmonization layer.
Tracking the performance of logistic carrier deliveries: still remaining in the logistics area of materials handling and transportation, blockchain-based applications allow a more reliable and widespread possibility to record the hand-offs, confirm
the places and dates of delivery, keep track in an unambiguous and undisputed manner of delays and/ or cancellations.
Managing contracts with suppliers: control of contractual compliance is generally a source of controversy. Blockchain-based applications can validate the contents of accompanying documents and certificates for both parties. The buyer can confidently
accept the certificates (of origin, quality, processing) presented by the supplier and also use them to certify its own productions, ensuring the continuity of the entire supply chain visibility to its customers. Smart contracts can be developed to ensure
the verification and compliance with contractual clauses.
Monitoring the quality of the goods being delivered: as we can see, blockchain in logistics is the dominant factor among the
Community NdT participating companies. The new technology overcomes the concept of quality as a feature intrinsically linked to the product, giving it a broader connotation: blockchain-based applications allow an- equally important- quality of information,
for example linked to the provenance of the supplies. Similarly, data quality is assured through the completeness of customs inspection documents.
Registering production and maintaining product traceability: quality inspections, production progress control and certification of manufacturing processes are some of the most immediate examples of blockchain applications. Applications based on blockchain
are developed through "microservices", i.e., basic software applications that are subsequently aggregated to form more complete software modules. The example of the "app" is not very dissimilar. In fact, the software features described above to trace goods
and their quality along the supply chain cannot be separated from a more granular control within each of the supply chain partners, whether they are producers or service providers (e.g., transportation, quality control certifications, customs offices).
Anti-counterfeiting: perhaps the most immediately attributable application to blockchain, for which each participant in the supply chain can: prove the origin of the good and its composition; accept any certification associated with suppliers and
other participants along the supply chain; and finally accept the payment of VAT fees, taxes, and customs duties.
Non-compliance: considering the industrial sectors of the companies that belong to the
Community NdT (food, fashion, textile, logistics to name a few), it is imperative to ensure the quality and compliance of the goods with protocols and regulations. These companies have designed blockchain applications for such purpose.
Claims management: "notarising" data on blockchain helps ensure that the returned asset is effectively covered by contract. Moreover, storing service requests on blockchain allows the guarantor to know that the service ticket was not used before.
The list of use cases identified by the companies of the Community NdT continues with at least another twenty examples that will be covered in future articles.
Community NdT is a community of Italian companies willing to participate in pilot projects using the technologies made available - free of charge - by the Community Partner.