Nippon Express, a Japanese global logistics company, is partnering with Accenture and Intel Japan to create a distributed ledger technology (DLT) based transport network for pharmaceutical products and consumer goods.
Nippon Express Taps Blockchain Technology
In a bid to prevent counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products and consumer goods, Japan’s Nippon Express is joining forces with Accenture, a highly reputed professional service company, and Intel Japan to develop a blockchain-based transport network.
Per sources close to the matter, Nippon Express is looking to invest a whopping 100 billion Japanese yen ( about $1 billion) into the project, as it’s also looking to start manufacturing pharmaceutical products in 2021.
The blockchain-based system will make it possible for Nippon Express to track the products in its supply chain and warehouses in real-time, as well as carry out other quality control activities.
The launch of the project comes at a time when several countries are scrutinizing pharmaceutical distribution networks. In the U.S., the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) is being rolled out in phases. The 2019 phase aimed to identify and trace fake medicines returns. Several pharma firms are developing solutions to meet DSCSA requirements, and blockchain is favored by many. Two examples are Mediledger and IBM’s PhUN network.
Making It Work
The team has hinted that Intel Japan, will be in charge of developing the radio frequency id (RFID) tags that will be used to track the movement of each cargo, while Accenture will create the sensors that will be used to check out the temperature of goods in both the warehouse and vans.
The team plans to integrate the above systems into the proposed blockchain solution, to enable manufacturers, scientific organizations, wholesalers and other stakeholders to trace the development process of pharma products in real-time.
Nippon said the platform would track the import and export of raw materials and products, and their delivery to medical institutions. It aims to bring manufacturers, wholesalers, and medical institutions onto a single platform.
A key benefit is reducing the need for manual checks leading to a reduction in cost and time.
While the platform is initially focusing on pharmaceuticals, blockchain will also be used to monitor the transport of other goods. Nippon said shipping companies are expected to join the platform and improve the overall efficiency of supply chains.
Other examples of pharma supply chain projects include the European Pharmaledger consortium was set up with 29 members; 12 of them are global pharmaceutical companies. The consortium will explore several uses cases, including supply chain, clinical trials, and health data.
Notably, the team has made it clear that the solutions to be developed by Intel Japan and Accenture will be installed in all Nippon Express factories, trucks and warehouses, to facilitate traceability of raw materials and products from various locations to delivery at medical institutions.
All important data concerning these raw materials will be stored on the blockchain, making it possible for stakeholders to have accurate information about each cargo.
It’s worth noting that forward-thinking organizations around the globe are increasingly tapping the immutability property of blockchain technology to foster transparency in their supply chains and curb product counterfeiting.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) has inked a deal with Trace, to use blockchain technology to track all stages of hemp production.
Also, Daimler Ag, the makers of Mercedes Benz cars recently launched a blockchain pilot aimed at tracking carbon dioxide emissions in its Cobalt supply chain.