- 20. Juli 2018
Imperial Logistics encourages digital collaborationImperial Logistics is joining a new industrial initiative as one of its founding members. The consortium is called +D (plusdecentral) and aims to build a cross-company transaction protocol bringing automation and new business models to the Supply Chain. With this new decentralised infrastructure, it will be possible to digitize and automatically manage tasks such as transport contracts, insurance policies, tracking consignments, editing documents, settling damage claims and payment transactions. The protocol follows an open-source approach and is designed to guarantee a smooth exchange of information and value between all the participants in the supply chain. Main technologies are Blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence. A chemical producer, in the role as the shipper, and Allianz Esa, in the role as the insurer, were included in an initial pilot project. The actual job involved a transport of temperature-controlled chemicals from the shipper in Ludwigshafen to the recipient in Hildesheim. The real-time tracking of the temperature conditions was realised by IoT experts from the technology start-up Evertrace, Berlin.
The +D Supply Chain Protocol represents a new form of collaboration. In contrast to earlier approaches in Web 2.0, there is no longer any central authority that sends the data and activates the transactions. +D provides the infrastructure for a digital agreement procedure between several independent parties – and the underlying navigation for the data streams. The blockchain technology guarantees that the data cannot be changed and is comprehensible to all the involved parties. As a result, the contracting process, tracking consignment and conditional settlement including payments and claims management can be automatically handled without any intermediate body. Those participating in the pilot project say that they benefit from the increase in efficiency and save time because of the reduction in work required to process documents manually. Furthermore, the +D Supply Chain Protocol opens up opportunities for new business models in conjunction with artificial intelligence.
“The logistics sector has been talking about collaboration in the supply chain for decades,” says Michael Lütjann, CIO at Imperial Logistics. “However, the fear of losing expertise have often discouraged participants from collaborating in the past. In addition, central platforms turned out to be far from ideal for the complex flow of information,” Lütjann adds. The sector now has a collaboration model in the form of the +D Supply Chain Protocol, which really deserves its name, because all those involved benefit to the same degree and nobody needs to fear any loss of control or the dominance of individual parties because it only uses a shared infrastructure,” Lütjann explains. He is convinced that those who just pay attention to their own competitive advantages will not enjoy any benefits in the decentralised Web 3.0, but those who can add substantial value added to their “industrial ecosystem”. As a neutral entity, +D is open to further partnerships aimed at the joint development of the common Supply Chain infrastructure.