Walmart, the largest company in the world by revenue, is globally renowned for its leadership in saving its customers money so they can have a better life. This deep commitment has prompted it to be one the world’s leading investors in a wide range of innovations, particularly in using technology to increase efficiencies.
Now Walmart Canada (“Walmart”), in partnership with global blockchain leader DLT LabsTM (DLT), has made another monumental leap ahead that sets the stage for a wave of innovation in industry. Walmart and DLT have designed and taken into live production the first industrial use of enterprise blockchain.
It has been placed at the heart of Walmart’s massive supply chain and has become the standard in managing its freight deliveries nationally. Despite the enormous and sometimes controversial coverage of blockchain, almost all efforts to use the underlying technology to date have been either related to cryptocurrency, or in experiments (often called proof-of-concepts). These experiments do not share information with, or connect to, core operations and the massive, existing information technology systems that run operations. Now Walmart and DLT have taken off the training wheels and proven the power of blockchain in industry.
Walmart and DLT have built and launched the world’s first and biggest full production blockchain solution for industrial application. The product is a freight and payment platform which creates real-time secure channels between Walmart and the carriers of its more than 500,000 deliveries of inventory across Canada each year.
Shipment data is tracked real-time, a huge range of charges are reconciled, invoices are calculated and created automatically, and payments are expedited – all with verified secure information. This represents a breakthrough in business process innovation applicable to any business process or industrial environment. It is the first tangible demonstration of how enterprise blockchain can dramatically improve operations and information management. The product was piloted in a close working relationship among Walmart, DLT and Bison Transport, and is now live within Walmart’s supply chain, with all carriers to be active by February 1, 2020.
This product enables the automatic synchronization and calculation of billions of data points (Canada figures):
- 400 stores nationwide
- 750,000 online customers daily
- 500,000+ deliveries annually
- 850+ million cases of merchandise shipped annually
- 4,500 in third-party fleet of associates and drivers
- Walmart Canada’s own fleet of 180 tractors, 2,000 trailers and more than 350 drivers
- ~200 variable costs for EACH truck data points such as global positioning system (GPS) data, contracts, shipment, and accounting information
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.