A lot has happened since the creation of blockchain in 2009, including the great hype of 2014-2017, when hundreds of books were written and blockchain was continuously in the news – At that point, more of a fantasy than a practical business reality. Over the last few years, blockchain systems have matured and are going mainstream with companies now accepting cryptocurrencies for payments, issuing fungible tokens for digital assets, and notable companies such as Maersk, IBM, Walmart, and others having implemented blockchain in their supply chains. Just as the internet was in its infancy in the late 90’s, blockchain and IoT are still in theirs. Both technologically advanced systems will become a permanent part of the business backbone landscape in FinTech, banking, manufacturing, distribution, pharmaceuticals, Oil & Gas, the food chain and Aviation.
The Group50 team recognized this in 2016 and in conjunction with our business partner Thinaer®, built and launched Scioebc™, the only blockchain product built on an IoT platform. Combining IoT, Blockchain and human feedback provides the first 360-degree feedback loop coupled with an immutable (unable to be changed) record of provenance (entire history and chain of custody) during a product or service’s entire lifetime.
Blockchain, IoT and similar technologies are part of Industry 5.0. They are transformational technologies that require careful planning and implementation. Most companies that embark on a digital transformation fail, because they don’t fully understand that this isn’t just about technology, it is about transformation and optimization at the center of people, process, Information Technology and Cobotics (Industry 5.0) as shown on the right. It is also about the implementation of a change management framework such as the Business Hierarchy of Needs ®.
An illustration of this transformational capability is in order.
A shaft (sometimes called a main mast) for a helicopter is considered a flight safety part. As a result, it has very specific and stringent manufacturing, maintenance, and performance requirements throughout its lifetime. This requires detailed record keeping of all things that have happened to it by:
- The manufacturer
- Vendors who do various operations during the manufacturing process
- Customer (OEM) inspectors
- Government inspectors
- Customers who use the shaft
- Maintenance groups
- Remanufacturers (applicable to other flight safety parts, not helicopter shafts)
To make a shaft, there are approximately 75 operations a forged steel bar must go through in the manufacturing process. During the 30–40-week lead time, a shaft will be subject to:
- Forging from which many shafts are made
- Multiple heat-treating operations of shafts in batches
- Flame spray Coating
- Resin and paint
- Many inspections and measurements throughout the process
During these processes, a host of information must be collected which includes but isn’t limited to test and inspection results, measurements, dwell times, temperatures, hardness tests, equipment and process settings, coating thickness, human feedback, etc. There are thousands of pieces of information associated with a shaft that documents its provenance before it is installed in a helicopter. Once it is installed in the field, there are very stringent inspection and testing requirements to ensure that the shaft is not failing. After a predefined period, during which operating history is collected, there is a required inspection where the shaft is taken out of service, inspected, validated, and perhaps remanufactured. Each time a new set of documents and datasets are collected which continue to add to the provenance of the shaft.
So, what happens if the shaft fails its inspection: perhaps a surface crack appears? In the current state, the helicopter is grounded, and the shaft is removed. A SWAT team is put together to review all documentation for that shaft during its entire lifetime to try and understand what may have caused the failure. Depending on the failure mode, the SWAT team may look back at the manufacturing history which requires accumulating hundreds, perhaps thousands of documents from every supplier which can take many weeks of effort to accumulate and review because of disparate systems as shown below.
If it is found that the crack may have been caused by improper heat treating (which is usually done in batches), then the SWAT team must figure out what other shafts were in that batch, locate them in the field, and ground those helicopters for inspection to verify continued fitness for use. Situations like this, which are factual, require many more months of effort to sort out, tying up critical resources and idling valuable assets.
Blockchain and IoT systems provide a solution to this and a glimpse into the future state. Utilizing Industry 5.0 techniques, it is possible to fully document the entire history of a shaft and its’ provenance in an immutable record which can consist of text, pictures, scanned and other types of documents, machine data, and much more. As shown below, the blockchain for a shaft is the data repository and each bit of data is assigned a block that cannot be changed and is permanently part of the record for that shaft. As things happen, data continuously flows into the shaft’s blockchain.
As the shaft, or other flight safety part is built, used, inspected, remanufactured, and reused, the blockchain for that shaft continues to grow, providing a full life history of the shaft and its chain of custody. Anyone (with the appropriate permissions) will be able to go back into history to find information including the list of airframes it was on, total accumulated flight hours, vibration data it was subjected to, or something as far back as the heat-treating certifications and other test reports. This data can be accessed from anywhere in the world making maintenance and decision making much more efficient significantly improving asset utilization.
Blockchain, IoT and human feedback, as combined technologies and a great demonstration of Industry 5.0 , create the future state of managing the provenance of flight safety parts, and there are many other applications as well that these disruptive technologies can positively impact:
- Aircraft maintenance logs, of which 90% are paper based
- Counterfeited components which amounted to $1.2T in 2017
- Oil transactions of which 9% are disputed
- Components in the oil and gas industry of which 15% are counterfeit
- Asset tracking using IoT and blockchain
- Food safety
- Hospital / patient records
In today’s environment, technology is involved in everything we do, and it plays an important role in improving safety, increasing efficiency and lowering cost. The following chart demonstrates some of the possible applications and capabilities:
The combination of blockchain, IoT and human feedback (cobotics) significantly increases the ability of global supply chains to fully track products and services across their entire lifecycle helping to realize what the World Bank forecasts as $1.6T in untapped value through global digitization.
You can read more articles about what Group50 and Thinaer are doing with Blockchain and IoT here.
Talk to a Blockchain and IoT expert today through the following:
Phone: (909) 949-9083
Phone: (800) 727-0383
Group50 Consulting, founded in 2004, works with middle market companies to leverage their investments in people, process and technology to significantly improve the efficiency and cost performance of their supply chains. Already subject matter experts in global supply chain consulting, Group50 has added Scioebc™, a supply chain focused blockchain solution powered by Thinaer, an IoT platform, to its portfolio of goods and services. Group50 works with their clients in developing and implementing transformational strategies across their business. More information about the company can be found and its Industry 5.0 capabilities here.
Thinaer was founded in 2016 to provide the world with an easy and affordable way to sense and monitor every asset, everywhere. The Thinaer IoT platform leverages Bluetooth and cellular technology to generate new and unique actionable data at a fraction of the price of traditional solutions. Led by industry experts in healthcare, manufacturing, and technology, Thinaer offers IoT software solutions that empower hospitals, manufacturers, and enterprises to answer the most challenging questions never answered before. Thinaer is the first ever end-to-end solution to provide immediate ROI without disrupting existing workflows or overhauling existing systems. To learn more about Thinaer and The Internet of People, Places and Things, visit www.thinaer.io.
Strategy Realized – The Business Hierarchy of Needs
- Podcast: Jim Gitney with Host David Bookbinder on “Behind the Numbers”
- Making Continuous Improvement a Reality
- Building Effective Procurement and Supply Chains Using Data Analysis -Live Webinar with Jim Gitney –
- Stopping Short of Excellence – Overcoming “Good Enough”
- Group50® Consulting in Manufacturing and Distribution
- Group50® Supply Chain Consultants: Empowering Businesses through Expertise
- Strategic Planning Consultants: Your Complete Guide
- 10 Elements of an Effective Supply Chain
- Optimizing Operations: The Role and Benefits of Supply Chain Consulting
- Managing the Productivity Cycle