ShipChain, a local business founded in 2017 by Clemson University alumni John Monarch, has found an innovative use incorporating blockchain technology into a software solution providing more transparency into the logistics of shipping.
Monarch worked in the shipping industry and saw a need to create a technology that made shipping more transparent. Traditionally, companies had a lack of visibility into the overall end-to-end shipping process. ShipChain provides that insight, Monarch said.
“For example [using ShipChain], a restaurant would be able to see where everything is [during] every step in the supply chain. It would show who has custody of the product and clear up issues from lack of visibility.”
The power of technology
ShipChain utilizes blockchain-an electronic transaction ledger for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin- and works like a chain of digital “blocks” that contain records of transactions that never go away and cannot be edited. This is a shift from traditional software where the data could be erased or manipulated throughout the process.
“With blockchain, it’s [the overall logistics process] much more transparent,” Monarch said. “It records every event that is posted to it- in perpetuity- and can’t be changed.”
ShipChain is already providing more granularity in food chain supply companies.
“The reason we had every head of lettuce recalled twice last year was because no one knew where it came from,” Monarch said. “As a result, people were getting sick.”
ShipChain would utilize blockchain technology and would be able to pinpoint where the lettuce came from and what interfered with the lettuce during the shipping process.
ShipChain can assist a wide variety of companies and is currently working with businesses in the pharmaceutical, food, high-value automobile and freight-payment industries to implement its technology.
In the trucking industry, drivers must have an electronic logging device in their trucks containing access to cellular and GPS data and the number of actual driving hours. With ShipChain, companies can get even more granular by recording data such as temperature, humidity and light sensitivity to determine when and how many times the delivery truck door has been opened.
Companies transporting vaccines could benefit immensely from ShipChain’s technology, Monarch said. According to the CDC, vaccines must be stored properly from the time they are manufactured until they are administered. Potency is reduced every time a vaccine is exposed to an improper condition such as heat, cold or light. ShipChain wants to reduce the amount of times a product spoils due to improper shipping conditions and utilize the proper technology to ease the issue.
“We are calling these surgical recalls, narrowing down where a recall came from and potentially stop it before it hits the shelves so companies don’t have to spend tremendous amounts of money throwing everything away,” Monarch said.