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DHL, BMW run blockchain trial for Asia Pacific supply chain


DHL is one of several logistics partners that work with BMW in Asia. Typically, each logistics firm runs its own computer systems, as does BMW and its dealers. But instead, what if they could share the data? Automaker BMW and logistics provider DHL worked on a blockchain proof of concept (PoC) for the former’s Asia Pacific supply chain operations to provide better visibility for parts shipped from Malaysia.

Traditionally, separate proprietary systems that record data result in a lengthy manual reconciliation process to match shipment data. Additionally, a discrepancy would require further digging, which takes even more time and effort.

To circumvent these issues, DHL and BMW established a private blockchain platform to share supply chain data among participants seamlessly. Stakeholders are only allowed access to data which they need.

Additionally, the system also provided real-time shipment tracking from placing an order to delivery of parts. In theory, this would help BMW dealers efficiently manage their inventory.

Meanwhile, the PoC also provided transparency into the performance of the supply chain. There’s a graphical dashboard to view details such as placed orders, orders in transit, and delivered orders.

In conclusion, the PoC was able to reduce manual reporting and resolve problems faster as both the parties were able to view the same data in real-time.

BMW is quite active in the blockchain space and is trialling several applications of the technology. The German automaker is part of the MOBI consortium and is working with Ford, GM, Honda and a few others on a blockchain PoC for vehicle identity.

Most recently, BMW participated in a trade finance pilot on the Marco Polo blockchain network.

In Europe, there’s a blockchain consortium dedicated to shipping cars and one of its main aims is to provide more certainty to dealers about the arrival of car shipments.