Coca-Cola cracks open the blockchain bottle
Coke One North America, the IT firm behind Coca-Cola’s bottle manufacturing supply chain processes, is set to pilot a blockchain project with software provider SAP across 70 of its manufacturers that deliver the 160,000 bottles Coca-Cola shops daily.
This blockchain project promises to streamline distribution for all participants, as manufacturers are able to access a permissioned blockchain containing every order, and each participant's capabilities and requirements. For example, if a bottle maker is short of stock for a looming order, the network quickly provides options for filling the shortfall. CONA expressed that it hopes to reduce order reconciliation days from weeks to just days.
Over 70 franchises of the Coca-Cola Company worldwide are now able to use the blockchain solution developed by SAP. Unlike public blockchains, this permission-based solution still keeps a cryptographically protected, tamper-proof and immutable record.
The advantage of blockchain technology is that each of the dozens of suppliers will be able to file orders viewable by everyone using the distributed ledger.
Andrei Semenov, senior manager at CONA, stated that:
There are a number of transactions that are cross-companies and multiparty that are inefficient. They go through intermediaries; they are very slow. And we felt that we could improve this and save some money
Tracking orders and filing throughout the supply chain solution can be onerous, and Coca-Cola is to be commended for its commitment to publishing and broadcasting all supply data information onto blockchain, ensuring that processes are more dynamic and efficient.
At this stage, the partnership between Coca-Cola’s global bottlers and SAP is only at the take-off level, with all entities charged and on board to log records of supply as transactions on the permissioned blockchain.
Semenov optimistically states that in the future, "the program may grow into a partnership with supermarkets like Target and Walmart." Walmart has been a curious blockchain adopter, along with Topco Associates, the largest American retail food group purchasing organization, along with member grocery chain, Food City, which has also set plans to pilot Mastercard’s blockchain blockchain-based Provenance Solution in its operations.
When it comes to public blockchains, tracking products and deliveries has been the aim of projects like VeChain (VET) and NEM (XEM), but almost any public blockchain can be used for tracking and record-keeping. Supply chain tracking has been proposed for multiple sectors, but more prominently, the automotive supply chains, as well as the tracking of luxury goods.