First Enterprise Full Production Blockchain Solution Launched at a Large Scale for a Mission-Critical Function to Date
Walmart Canada and DLT Labs announce the launch of Walmart Canada’s blockchain-based freight and payment network, the world’s largest full production blockchain solution for any industrial application. The new system uses distributed ledger technology to track deliveries, verify transactions, and automate payments and reconciliation among Walmart Canada and its carriers which deliver inventory to over 400 retail stores across Canada annually. All Walmart Canada’s third-party carriers are scheduled to be live by February 1, 2020. The solution is accessible using a web portal and an easy to use mobile application.
Walmart Canada partnered with DLT Labs™ to automate freight and payment data using DLT’s leading supply chain platform DL Asset Track™. The new blockchain-based freight and payment network 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. The solution also automates the myriad necessary calculations enabling real-time invoicing, payments and settlement. At the same time, it seamlessly integrates with each company’s legacy systems, so organizations can continue to follow their existing processes without retraining or a new investment in technology. This innovation arose from Walmart Canada’s continued focus on reducing costs to ensure the lowest everyday prices for Canadian consumers.
John Bayliss, senior vice-president, logistics and supply chain, Walmart Canada, says, “Walmart Canada is dedicated to efficiency across our business, including most importantly in our supply chain and logistics management. Our carrier partners move over 500,000 loads of inventory nationally, which creates an extraordinary volume of transaction data. This new dynamic and interactive blockchain technology platform is creating complete transparency between Walmart Canada and all of our carrier partners.” Bayliss adds, “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.”
Loudon Owen, CEO of DLT Labs™, says, “Walmart is a global leader in innovation, with a relentless focus on improving people’s lives, and DLT Labs™ is delighted to partner with such an extraordinary organization to bring the world’s first and largest blockchain solution for industry into production. This proves the high value of blockchain and sets the stage to revolutionize supply chain management and logistics, due to its ability to enable secure information sharing, manage trust and reduce waste in multi-partner operational processes.” Owen adds, “Just as the Roman’s concept, ‘dictum meum pactum’ (meaning ‘my word is my bond’) was fundamental to building trade, this product creates a secure digital handshake using blockchain to renew trust and efficiency in global trade.”
Bison Transport was the carrier partner in the pilot of this new blockchain-based freight and payment network. According to Rod Hendrickson, VP Finance, Bison Transport, “Great partners find innovative ways to create business solutions that benefit both parties. The blockchain initiative we worked on with Walmart and DLT Labs is just that – a mutually beneficial solution that works well for Bison Transport and Walmart Canada. This project is a new paradigm that will greatly improve workflows, reduce paperwork, and make the business we do with Walmart more efficient.”
Walmart Canada’s distribution centres are hubs of activity, with more than 4,500 associates and drivers moving thousands of items daily from sites located in Calgary, Mississauga and Cornwall to stores from coast to coast across Canada. Walmart Canada operates 8.75 million square feet of distribution center and moves more than 853 million cases of merchandise annually. These goods are transported by a combination of 3rd party fleet as well as Walmart Canada’s own fleet of 180 tractors, 2,000 trailers and more than 350 drivers. Each third-party trailer tracks approximately 200 data points per shipment. Automating this data collection and management using blockchain results in a significant cost-saving.
Walmart Canada is committed to ongoing leadership in developing smart transportation networks, having already established more efficient techniques for loading, routing, driving, and energy efficient improvements with truck manufacturers. Interconnecting the data between Walmart Canada and its carrier partners provides a platform to materially improve operations, delivery coordination and routing efficiency, waste and cost reduction, and automated payment reconciliation and processing.
DIRECT BENEFITS OF FREIGHT & PAYMENT SOLUTION
DEVELOPED BY WALMART CANADA AND DLT LABS™
- Data Capture & Integrity: A distributed repository increases trust and transparency by sharing information and automating workflows and calculations to minimize manual effort and increase accuracy.
- System Efficiency: Improved collective resource utilization, including quicker responses, improved tracking and tracing, and early problem detection.
- Faster Transaction Time: Real-time consolidation of all business rules and transactions to create a single invoice reduces wait times and speeds up payments.
- Eliminates Disputes: All participants can now effectively manage the complex shipment, invoice, payment and settlement process, while minimizing unproductive time spent on disputes and reconciliations.
- Reduces Costs: Increased efficiency reduces all parties’ enterprise technology and administration costs.
- Better Budgeting and Planning: Accurate, real-time data can now be used for enhanced analytics and predictive modelling.
These benefits are possible due to the inherent characteristics of blockchain technology which enables shared, immutable and highly auditable store of data on a secure, shared ledger. While the application of blockchain technology in industry has long been discussed, this is the first practical implementation at scale, and it clearly demonstrates blockchain’s significant benefits. Moreover, this platform is being used in a mission-critical area of Walmart Canada’s business, its supply chain, and has had to meet the highest levels of security and testing.
As transportation networks become increasingly interconnected, and products are embedded with computing devices that form the Internet of Things (IoT), an enormous amount of data is being generated that must be managed and integrated. This is particularly challenging inside and among multiple parties in large organizations where the information may be stored and used across different and fragmented operating systems. In a transportation network, for example, there are approximately 170 variable costs for each truck from data points such as global positioning system (GPS) data, contracts, shipment, and accounting information. While the benefits of interconnecting all parties are enormous, managing all the information that is generated can overwhelm legacy information technology systems. Blockchain-based solutions are the answer.