UPS joins alliance to create blockchain standards for logistics
UPS has joined the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA), a forum for the development of blockchain technology standards and education for the freight industry.
UPS said it sees the need to create industry standards and protocols to enable blockchain platforms to operate together with established technologies.
In a release the company stated that In the future, blockchain standards and intercompany collaboration will support the logistics strategies that enable UPS customers to participate in global trade and finance.
“Blockchain has multiple applications in the logistics industry, especially related to supply chains, insurance, payments, audits and customs brokerage,” said Linda Weakland, UPS director of enterprise architecture and innovation.
“The technology has the potential to increase transparency and efficiency among shippers, carriers, brokers, consumers, vendors and other supply chain stakeholders.”
UPS views blockchain as a truly disruptive technology that could change many facets of global commerce, the statement added.
In particular, UPS is exploring blockchain applications in its customs brokerage business. UPS is one of the world’s largest customs brokers, and a key objective of its brokerage strategy is to digitise transactions.
UPS said blockchain technology would help by improving transaction accuracy and by replacing existing paper-heavy and manual processes. Blockchain has the potential to benefit all parties involved in the transactions. Such an application would be highly secure and would generate valuable efficiencies for shippers who rely on UPS for customs brokerage.
UPS wants to leverage blockchain technology to facilitate execution and visibility of trusted transactions between UPS, its customers and government customs agencies.
Blockchain, a digital database using blocks that are linked and secured by cryptography, can be used to keep record of any information or assets. This includes physical assets, like transportation containers, or virtual assets, like digital currencies.
More than 300 companies have applied for membership to BiTA. Now, UPS and Coyote Logistics, a technology-driven, non-asset based truckload freight brokerage company that UPS acquired in 2015, are BiTA members.
Grupo Espinosa: 70 years of constant evolution
Founded in 1952, Grupo Espinosa has been relentlessly supporting the publishing industry with producing more than 100 million copies every year – whether its books, magazines, catalogues or single-order custom prints. No project is big or small for Grupo Espinosa, as the facility can scale up on demand and their turnaround times are highly competitive. Grupo Espinosa works with on-demand digital press or offset press, in paperback with glued softcover binding, PUR softcover binding, stitched paperback binding, binder’s board, hardcover, saddle stitched, Spiral or Wire-O. Equipped with the experience needed for a product to leave the plant ready for distribution, Grupo Espinosa delivers anywhere inside or outside Mexico. Traditionally starting off as a black and white printing press, Grupo Espinosa has experienced transformation first hand – from colour to digital offset printing. Currently, Grupo Espinosa is also looking at making capital investments into audio books to match with the increasing demand.
So how did a seemingly local operation in Latin America become a world-renowned printing facility trusted by hundreds of clients? As Rogelio Tirado, CFO of Grupo Espinosa for the last six years says “It all comes down to our market experience and our dedication to quality”. With nearly 70 years behind them, and located in Mexico City, Grupo Espinosa has two major locations – one spanning 75,000 square metres and the other about 45,000 square metres. Both locations are controlled by a single ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system ensuring speed, consistency and quality of work. Tirado says this isn’t their only competitive advantage. He adds “Our competitive advantage is the relationship we have with customers and the trust they put in us with their intellectual property”. Speaking of trust, global publishing giant Macmillan Education exclusively partners with Grupo Espinosa for their Latin America operations, as part of Macmillan’s decentralized hub strategy. Having a facility that offered the full spectrum of service – from storing digital content to printing and distributing – was one of the major requirements for Macmillan, and Grupo Espinosa was recognized as the leading printing hub for providing this 360 infrastructure. Another factor that has led to success for Grupo Espinosa is the absolute focus on quality and time. The staff are committed to providing the best quality in the best possible time, without causing wastage of resources. Sustainability is a huge factor playing into Grupo Espinosa’s operations, and they’ve created a healthy environment with the sustainable use of paper and energy resources as well as keeping their employees – most of them associated with the organisation for over 10 years – happy. He adds, “In order to be truly successful, you need to be good to the environment, employees, suppliers, and your customers. But most importantly, you need to be sustainable, you need to have proper working conditions, pay proper salaries, proper prices for paper, source the paper from sustainable sources, pay your taxes, basically be a good global corporate citizen and that's probably one of the biggest achievements that we have.”