There are various powerful blockchain use cases in Aviation. In this article, lets take a look at one specific niche use case ie. Supply Chain Management ( SCM ). Lets understand the problem in detail and check out the solution blockchain can offer.
Basics: What does Supply Chain Management in the Aviation industry mean?
In general SCM is effective management of the chain of events and transportation of Goods, Services etc. from one point to another ( in the most cost effective and performance oriented manner ). Clear Supply Chain Management is required nearly in all the industries. Aviation as an industry relies heavily on excellent SCM. Be it a commercial aviation business or logistics business, there are several moving parts that are all very time bound. From transporting goods to and from the vessel, Food for passengers, MRO parts of the vessel, In-vessel Services etc. in every stage cost effective, quality and timely SCM practices are mandatory. As the entire industry runs on a very strict and thin profit margin, any disruptions in supply chain can cost millions of dollars in loss.
Next: How can Blockchain implementation help to improve Supply Chain Management in Aviation?
Following are some of the areas where Blockchain can add a lot of value:
- Tracking counterfeit parts: One of the biggest problems Original Equipment Manufactures ( OEMs ) have been facing for long is counterfeit parts. Aviation as an industry does not just deal with Airplanes alone. It also includes the ground transport, jet bridges, conveyors, containers, robotic devices etc. Each of these machinery have many moving parts that require constant maintenance, replacement etc. through out the year. This makes it a nightmare for both OEMs and Aviation businesses to monitor and track duplicate parts that may get inserted in the supply chain cycle. By deploying Blockchain in this process, determining the provenance becomes easily possible for each spare parts that have arrived. Also it helps in tracing the part through each part of the supply chain, to easily find where things went wrong.
- In Flight Food Safety: One of the key areas where there is zero tolerance in quality is the food served during flight. Contaminated food can cause passengers to get sick and can even result in emergency landing to admit passengers in hospital. Apart from the change in flight plan losses, the entire brand of the business can get tarnished resulting in severe loss. To avoid such a situation, it is very much required to record, track and maintain the journey of each food item right from where it is produced to the kitchen to the package. IOT sensors can be attached throughout the cycle right from the Ocean, farmland -to- transportation vessel, storage containers etc,. These devices can constantly keep sending all information like time, location, temperature at each stage to the blockchain. Smart contracts can be written to govern each input and determine the condition of the items in each stage and send out warnings accordingly. Also records can be analyzed easily to find the point at which the food was contaminated, to avoid the mistake in future. Not to mention, it is also possible to show the passengers the entire journey of the food they are about to eat right on their mobile phone.
- Safety Check Logs: After arrival and before a flight takes off, there is always a series of safety checks and regular steps of maintenance process that is practiced ( before the vessel is signed fit to fly again ). This by itself is a service level supply chain process that also mingles with usage and change of parts etc. upon identifying defect. Each of these checks and results can be recorded in a blockchain. Combined with an intelligent smart contract that validates inputs from the technician, instant validation can be done on each check. Since these records are not editable at any point, it can be used for future validation. Maintenance logs for each part of the airplane can be maintained ( including the source where it was procured, who changed it and to who used part was sold etc. )
Apart from the above Supply Chain Management related use cases, the other areas where Blockchain implementation can add a lot of value are: More Effective Ticketing process, Identity verification & Security etc. As seen by experts the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul( MRO ) industry along with the Aerospace and Defense ( A&D ) companies are all awaiting to see massive growth with the implementation Blockchain technology in their business process.