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How DLT’s “Electronic Proof of Delivery” can improve the steel industry

By iov42 | 10 May 2023

The steel industry has long been a cornerstone of global manufacturing, providing raw materials for everything from construction to automotive production. However, like many industries, it faces a range of challenges, including rising costs, supply chain inefficiencies, and increased competition. Lately steel companies have had to acknowledge the inefficient and environmentally damaging processes they use, and this is a lot to do with the increasing pressures from the government to decarbonise the UK economy. This pressure has shone a light on the 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions the sector released in just 2021 alone.


Implementing technology that can improve the tracking and tracing of steel goods across the supply chain will be an important step in achieving net-zero. This would help the industry become both more efficient, and greener too.


In just one month of 2022, 28 countries had reported losing more than €17 million worth of materials, including steel, due to stolen freights, meaning that a large portion of the CO2 emissions created would have been released for nothing. Unfortunately, loss of cargo such as this is generally common due to reasons such as being mislaid, mislabelled, or failing to arrive at the agreed destination.


One potential solution to these challenges is the adoption of technology to build trust, digitally, into points of delivery – we call this use case of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) “Electronic Proof of Delivery” (ePOD) . ePOD helps streamline the point of delivery specifically, alongside enabling transparency, security, and the overall efficiency of the steel supply chain.


What is ePOD?


ePOD is driven by DLT that enables companies to use digital signatures to capture key information about a delivery, including the time of delivery, geolocation stamping, the recipient’s signature, and any special instructions or notes. This information is then stored in a central database, where it can be accessed and analysed by stakeholders throughout the supply chain.


How can ePOD help the steel industry?


  • Real-time tracking: companies can track the point of delivery/receipt in real-time, providing them with up-to-date information on the location and status of their goods. This can help improve delivery times and reduce the risk of delays or disruptions.


  • Improved efficiency: it can help reduce the administrative burden associated with delivery management, by automating many of the manual processes involved in recording deliveries – for instance showing real time receipt / delivery of goods. This can free up staff time and resources, allowing companies to focus on other aspects of their business.


  • Enhanced security: companies can ensure that goods are delivered to the correct recipient, by requiring them to sign for the delivery using an electronic signature. This can help reduce the risk of theft or misdelivery, improving security throughout the supply chain.


  • Reduced costs: by streamlining the delivery process and reducing the risk of delays or errors, ePOD can help reduce costs associated with the steel supply chain. This can help companies remain competitive in an increasingly crowded market.


  • Better cash flow: a common issue during the delivery process is delays between an item being delivered, invoiced for, and paid. Disputes can take  weeks to resolve, or even longer if there is a lack of agreement around the proof of delivery. But by having proof,  electronically and in notarised, auditable format on the DLT, delays can be minimised, which would be a big benefit to the efficiency of the cashflow over all.


But most importantly, this application of DLT can help to move the steel industry towards a more sustainable future. Environmental and financial costs for businesses have been the result of inefficient processes, which is understandable when taking into consideration that there is no standardised solution to digitising the industry. One example of these costs has been provided by Barclays, as they revealed that £23.6 billion worth of goods are still awaiting completion due to supply chain delays.


In addition, with 28.5 billion paper trade documents being printed and flown in shipments daily, the move over to digital will not only cut down on paper costs and usage, but will also cut down on 10% of emissions. The imminent passing of the Electronic Trade Documents Bill will make digital signatures legally recognised, encouraging businesses to reduce the amount of paper used and set a precedent for a more globally connected trade ecosystem.


Overall, ePOD technology has the potential to transform the steel industry, by improving efficiency, enhancing security, and bettering cash flow. As the industry continues to evolve, adopting innovative technologies enabled by DLT will be critical to remaining competitive and meeting the demands of customers and stakeholders.


Get in touch with us today to learn more about how ePOD, or DLT more broadly, can be a valuable asset to your business to improve your delivery process, and help you to save time, resources, and money.

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