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Blockchain in the Supply Chain Use Cases- Digital Passport

(the use case was proposed by a Certification Agency)

It is widely recognized that with digital technology supply chains are more transparent, quality-rich, and competitive. Above all by focusing on product content description, both mandatory and voluntary, that can turn into a competitive advantage especially in international markets. On the one hand, in fact, communication is increasingly conditioned by the greater attention that consumers place on issues related to the origin, ethics and sustainability of production. On the other, a number of legal requirements add to the needs of consumers, and this has made it necessary to properly communicate the conformity and safety of products.

Most of the time the obligation to provide descriptive contents of the product is accomplished by manufacturers and retailers with difficulty and is almost always perceived as a bureaucratic burden that does not add value to the communication with the customer. Therefore, it does not represent any competitive advantage. It is then necessary to think of an innovative way that simplifies how product contents are stored, organized, and reused.

The goal is to favor an unconventional approach to information management that leads to the construction of a true Digital Product Identity. The adoption of digital technologies will increase the quality and safety of products. The “Digital Passport” is an application solution that allows companies to assess their alignment with best practices. In a logic of “transparency” towards internationalization, this process allows also to certify other types of information that increase the company’s competitive position:

  • Origin of the product
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Sustainability
  • Product compliance with international standards
  • Legal compliance

In relation to the areas listed, blockchain can be used as a tool to support the reputation of companies affiliated to a certification body. The data and documents acquired by the companies may be notarized with blockchain and become the basis of an automatic scoring methodology (i.e., “Digital Passport Scoring”) that can analyze – also using artificial intelligence models – the existence, the validity and official representation of documents. The automated controls notarize on blockchain the results of the checks, based on parameters defined by the certification body that acts as guarantor of the truthfulness of the information.

It must be considered, however, that many companies still work mainly with paper material. Blockchain can therefore be used as a distributed database of information accessible by those in possession of reading rights. The documents referring to the individual companies will remain in a secure cloud environment, and these files will correspond to a hash written on blockchain as a unique identifier. If an information check is required, the correspondence between the hash written on blockchain and the hash associated with the document in the cloud is an incontrovertible proof of the truthfulness of the data.

The certification document represents, hence, the company’s “Identity Card” on the basis of the parameters that best represent it, as established by the certification body.

Some initiatives already in progress in the NdT Community are proving that a “Digital Passport” project is facilitated when the adhesion of a single company to the certification model is not subordinated to the participation of other companies.

 

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