Smart manufacturing is all about using Big Data and analytics to drive efficiency and profitability. The entire smart manufacturing environment uses master data management to control processes and provide insight into activities of which humans may otherwise never become aware. To do this requires transparency and interconnected systems, both of which can be created through the use of blockchain technology. Blockchain serves to provide a single thread that is accessible and contributed to by relevant parties. The information blockchain captures takes the form of a long, continuous “chain” of information that is tamper-proof, shareable, and secure.With greater transparency between organizations, manufacturing environments also gain access to more data that can inform and guide their operations as they grow.
Blockchain’s Role in Manufacturing
Supply chain management is currently undergoing a transformation, where many systems, processes, and machines are becoming more technology-driven. As a result, companies have more proprietary digital data than before and need better ways to collect, store, and access it. Current legacy systems have fostered this process to a degree, but they have had several glaring vulnerabilities:
- Lack of a way to integrate disparate systems and data
- Lack of a way to preserve data integrity
- Complex data tracing
Blockchain master data management addresses each of the above issues by creating a tamper-proof, digital fingerprint of the data generated by manufacturers and their suppliers, vendors, and other partners. Using blockchain, data is stored in a digital “ledger” that can be shared with other organizations or stakeholders. Files are added in an ongoing chain so that entries can be easily traced and authenticated, all of which ensures that users are accessing the most accurate, up-to-date information available.
Combining Smart Manufacturing with Blockchain
As manufacturing becomes more interconnected, so will the data collected and used by an organization. This also extends to companies and individuals outside of a factory’s walls. (e.g. suppliers, vendors, buyers, etc.)
For example, a manufacturer making a certain product might receive specs for that product from an upstream designer. Blockchain validates the integrity of those specs with the reassurance that the data hasn’t been altered or compromised during transmission. Like the goals of smart manufacturing systems, blockchain also serves to streamline communication and remove the guesswork from the equation. In turn, these goals help to reduce potentially costly errors to save companies time and money.
How Specright Leverages Blockchain and Smart Manufacturing Technology
At a time when many consumers and end-users are demanding greater transparency into companies with whom they do business, such as ingredient quality or source of origin, blockchain may prove to be an invaluable tool for manufacturers.
Specright’s Specification Data Management™ software is helping to lead the charge by providing transparency at the spec level. From a supply chain management perspective, Specright’s blockchain allows manufacturers to trace a digital thread of data throughout the supply chain to see where products are being sourced, where delays or bottlenecks are occurring, and other valuable information that can inform their operations.