Walmart Canada Launches DLT Labs’ Blockchain Solution

by Ruth Seeley

The benefits of blockchain include transparency and access to supply chain data, the ability to rapidly troubleshoot when inefficiencies and waste are spotted, real-time tracking and authentication, as well as speeding up the movement of goods through the supply chain.

It’s no surprise that giant retailers are looking to incorporate blockchain platforms into their supply chains. Recently, Walmart Canada and DLT Labs launched a  blockchain-based freight and payment network. It will be the world’s largest full production blockchain solution for an 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, who deliver inventory to more than 400 retail stores across Canada. 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 a mobile app.

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 all necessary calculations, enabling real-time invoicing, payments and settlement. It seamlessly integrates with each company’s legacy systems, so organizations can continue to follow their existing processes without retraining or investing in new technology. 

Walmart Canada’s carrier partners move more than 500,000 loads of inventory nationally. The interactive blockchain technology platform will create complete transparency between Walmart Canada and its carrier partners. As part of the company’s smart transportation network, blockchain will enable expedited payments and extensive cost savings throughout its supply chain while helping Walmart continue to reduce its environmental footprint. DLT’s DL Asset Track creates a secure digital handshake using blockchain.

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, “The blockchain initiative we worked on with Walmart and DLT Labs … will greatly improve workflows, reduce paperwork, and make the business we do with Walmart more efficient.”

Walmart Canada’s distribution centres include 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 third party fleet  and the retailer’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 significant cost-savings.

Walmart Canada has 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. It will also reduce cost and waste and automate payment reconciliation and processing.

Blockchain benefits include:

  • Data Capture and 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 storage 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. The platform is being used in a mission-critical area of Walmart Canada’s business, its supply chain.

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.

Source: DLT Labs Inc.

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