Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you’ve probably heard the word “blockchain” being used recently in industrial applications, even among Heavy Building Materials professionals. While many people in the construction sector recognize this term, some may not understand it, its benefits, or its limitations.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a shared, immutable, distributed ledger that simultaneously allows the process of recording transactions and tracking assets within a large, decentralized, publicly accessible business network.
According to a recent article in Digital Trends, each “block” represents a number of transactional records, and the “chain” links them all together with a cryptographic hash function. The primary block in this sequence is called the “Genesis Block.” As records are created, they are confirmed by a distributed network of computers and paired up with the previous entry in the chain, thereby creating a chain of blocks, aka a blockchain.
The entire blockchain is retained on this large network of computers, which means no one person has control over its history. This is key because it means an individual cannot go back and change things. In other words, it makes blockchain a public ledger that cannot be easily tampered with given this built-in layer of protection that may not be possible with a standard, centralized database.
This is what’s so innovative about blockchain and why you have probably heard it referenced with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which unites the idea of a mutually distributed ledger — the blockchain — with a digital currency that isn’t controlled by any singular, centralized entity. Developed in 2009 by the alias “Satoshi Nakamoto,” Bitcoin permitted transactions to take place all while protecting them from outside interference via the use of blockchain technology.
While blockchain has sparked the industrial sector’s interest with its potential, it has its limitations, like the electrical power required to power the computers conducting these transactions, as well as poor transactions speeds. This is why Command Alkon’s Supplier Collaboration Platform is an exciting alternative.
What is the Supplier Collaboration Platform?
On a construction jobsite, it’s crucial that the physical supply chains perform as smart, fast, safe, and efficient as possible. For that to happen, the complex and dynamic movements across the heavy material supply chain must be well orchestrated by everyone involved, from contractors and bulk material suppliers to jobsite inspectors and project owners. Collaborative digital technologies must be embedded into these processes to transform the way business partners successfully collaborate.
This is where Command Alkon’s Supplier Collaboration Platform, CONNEX, comes in handy.
Supply chains are complex networks of independent enterprises that need to correspond digitally and effortlessly in order to share actionable information. The collection of data from each transaction along the chain provides new insight with full context, enabling analytics that can uncover trends and enable more informed business decisions.
And when it comes to an integrated community of bulk material producers, haulers, suppliers, and contractors, size does matter. Command Alkon delivers clear communication that creates transparency and trust, mitigates risk, and contributes to value creation for all participants integrated with CONNEX.
How are blockchain and the Supplier Collaboration Platform different?
CONNEX differs from traditional blockchain technology in that it is a common, centralized ledger as opposed to the open, distributed ledger. Collaboration within the Supplier Collaboration Platform requires trading partners to evolve into partial extensions of each other, resulting in mutually beneficial goals. When many companies work together for shared prosperity, each participant’s goals can be achieved.
Learn more about CONNEX the Supplier Collaboration Platform for Construction's Heavy Work.