Blockchain in production can help verify goods moving through the manufacturing supply chain and perhaps even foster the development of new business models.
Why Blockchain for Production Matters
According to Gartner, the value-add of blockchain for production businesses is estimated to grow to a little more than $176 billion by 2025, reaching $3.1 trillion by 2030. In fact, Gartner says, product recalls that are estimated at $8 million could be practically eliminated through improved track and traceability enabled by blockchain.
Why Planning is Essential for Blockchain for Production and Manufacturing
Now that the industry recognizes that blockchain can be a very valuable addition for manufacturers, what needs to happen to implement blockchain in manufacturing businesses?
It is critical to ensure auditing, tracking, and system versions are up to date. AUVESY’s versiondog software can help. Information on a product’s version and location can be available extremely quickly using versiondog. It can help identify parts or materials that are defective and point to where the best source for materials is.
The first step for any blockchain project is a sophisticated audit, tracking, and version control implementation. These initiatives can impact product safety, track-and-traceability, warranty management, maintenance, repair & overhaul (MRO), and increase safety overall for the smart, connected products segment. Regulatory challenges and struggles with interoperability within a manufacturer’s supply chain are high on the list of hurdles manufacturers face in getting blockchain initiatives accepted and into production.
Implementing blockchain for production requires preparation and discipline from production, operations, and maintenance staff alike. For the blockchain solution to function properly and truly save time, clear documentation is critically important. The structure of the production network, the assignment of permissions, and the creation of different user groups must all be clarified.
An Example of Planning for Blockchain Initiatives at Mann + Hummel
This preparation is especially critical for manufacturers, like Mann + Hummel. The company invests a considerable amount every year in new machines, robots, and peripheral devices. Their six-day, three-shift production emphasizes maximizing availability and minimizing downtime. They rely on versiondog’s audit, tracking, and version control solution to ensure downtime is reduced or eliminated altogether.
While the company hasn’t yet embarked on blockchain initiatives, they have addressed the process of making sure all production processes are up to par and are transparent.
With versiondog, all of their machines are connected to an MES system and every part of the production process is networked, so they can be fully monitored, and all errors can be recorded. If a new machine is added, then it is allocated a new IP address, a network cable is connected, and the communications module is installed. The machine can then run on the network. Maintenance ports are also created so that a maintenance worker or external programmer can log in to the audit, tracking and version control solution to make programming changes to the production line. Remote maintenance is also controlled by versiondog, which helps to ensure that the most recent version is always used.
Why Auditing Matters Before Implementing Blockchain for Production
Before embarking on blockchain projects, it is important to have everything in order internally with production lines. This is especially the case in the field of production management, where audits can be critical for analyzing quality deficiencies and determining operational risks.
The evidence of improvement comes from audits and procedures to obtain ISO and similar certifications. Independent bodies are called upon to ensure that a company is meeting the required standards. As a rule, carrying out audits regularly will improve the quality of a company’s processes and products.
Without systematic work process checks, any deficiencies or potential areas for improvement in a company will usually be overlooked. When mandatory processes are revised and efficiency is improved, new opportunities can arise. Regularly reviewing business processes – or even just questioning them – can result in a process of continuous improvement. This then leads to an increase in quality and, ultimately, a more satisfied customer.
Improving track-and-traceability and easing the audit production process are primary drivers across all manufacturers, given additional compliance requirements in highly regulated industries. It explains why automotive, aerospace & defense, and pharmaceutical industries are all exploring how blockchain can provide them a competitive edge.