Walmart Canada — the retail giant’s Canadian branch — has rolled out an automated blockchain-based network for freight tracking and payments management, according to a Nov. 14 press release.
The new system, which was developed in collaboration with blockchain company DLT Labs, is designed to improve freight and payment processing, enabling users to automatically trace deliveries, verify transactions and handle payments and reconciliation.
Integration with each company’s legacy systems
The release further states that the network can be integrated with a business’s legacy system and “manages, integrates and synchronizes all the supply chain and logistics data in real time, aggregating the data between Walmart Canada and its fleet of third-party trucks on a shared ledger.”
John Bayliss, senior vice-president of logistics and supply chain at Walmart Canada, noted the efficiency of blockchain technology when handling massive loads of inventory:
“This new dynamic and interactive blockchain technology platform is creating complete transparency between Walmart Canada and all of our carrier partners. Blockchain is enabling a material advance in our smart transportation network, with expedited payments, extensive cost savings and other benefits among our supply chain. Moreover, this degree of improved efficiency represents a powerful platform for us to continue to reduce our environmental footprint and continue our leadership in environmental sustainability."
While some retail giants adopt blockchain, others have doubts
Walmart has demonstrated a proactive approach to the implementation of blockchain in its internal processes. Recently, it announced that it would use blockchain technology to track its Indian-sourced shrimp to select locations of Sam's Club retail stores in the U.S.
In August, Walmart submitted a patent application for a drone communication system that is based on blockchain technology. In essence, the vehicle-to-vehicle communication system between unmanned drones would relay messages, mesh communications networks and allow machines to be aware of each others’ location and bearing.
However, there are some that claim that the biggest hurdle facing the blockchain systems being adopted by food retail giants such as Walmart and Nestlé has nothing to do with the technology itself. Craig Heraghty, agribusiness leader at PwC, argued that blockchain gives an “illusion of traceability” to supermarket chains and consumers, given that while the data record itself may be tamper-proof, physical points of entry are not necessarily foolproof.