CBD manufacturing facilities that are scraping by with any spare hemp they can buy are still claiming their products are organic, all natural, and pesticide free.
But how in the world could they possibly know if pesticides were used when their crops were grown on the other side of the planet?
Wouldn’t it be great if manufacturers could provide receipts of everywhere their products have been?
Down to every single ingredient. It’s possible with blockchain.
What Is Blockchain?
For a technology that’s only been around for a little over a decade, you’d think blockchain was the name of a hot young rapper with all the publicity its garnered.
But what is blockchain really? It’s simpler than you might think.
Blockchain technology is just a way of storing data. That’s it.
It allows us to access this data from just about anywhere and protects it from being altered.
We can store more information with more security than ever before.
“How Can Blockchain Help Me?”
You can start adapting to the changes blockchain tech will bring by accepting cryptocurrencies from your customers.
Even with CBD legalized across all 50 states and D.C., law enforcement are still unclear on the differences.
The grandmother detained for bringing CBD oil on her flight is one example. Just because CBD is legal doesn’t mean everyone will be comfortable associating themselves with it.
Cryptocurrencies give your customers the anonymity they crave and, depending on the currency, could save you on transaction fees.
Blockchain and Privacy
With blockchain, we can eliminate middlemen, like banks, that charge outrageous fees just for transferring money.
Blockchain opens a direct line of communication between the sender and the receiver. Instead of calling the operator to connect you to the number you’re trying to reach, blockchain is like calling their direct line.
But we use banks for a reason, right? There has to be someone trustworthy to make sure the transaction actually goes through.
Blockchain eliminates this need for a third party by using a form of computer code called smart contracts…
Smart contracts are the backbone of what makes blockchain so user-friendly. Think of blockchain like a vending machine for legally binding contracts.
Instead of hiring a lawyer to write up the terms and a notary to make it official, blockchain makes it possible to put together a contract in the blink of an eye at a fraction of the cost.
And it can automate your supply chain. Let’s say you pay one of your CBD oil manufacturing suppliers in Bitcoin. If your order doesn’t arrive on time you’ll automatically be issued a refund or discount.
This could be applied to any currency too, not just bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
No more waiting for customer service to get a hold of accounting to issue a refund. You’ve already been on the receiving end of refunds that take up to six months or more.
How is this possible? Blockchain works like a math problem. Without all the components you won’t get the right answer.
So if the condition requires a delivered product for your manufacturer to keep the money and it isn’t met, blockchain tech reverses the transaction.
Blockchain and Energy Consumption
Trendy clothing brand Reformation’s founder Yael Asloflo was a successful entrepreneur long before her current position.
But she grew disenchanted with the wasteful nature of the fast fashion industry she was part of.
That’s why everything down to the lighting their website emits, Reformation focuses on sustainability from the ground up.
But she has the benefit of having her factory in the same building as the board room.
How can you, a budding CBD entrepreneur, add value to the marketplace when you outsource your CBD manufacturing to a place like Spring Creek Labs?
These are the kinds of questions researchers are trying to answer with blockchain.
Does Blockchain Really Use That Much Energy?
You may have heard that using the blockchain for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin uses more energy than most small countries.
It’s true, but remember blockchain and cryptocurrency aren’t the same things. Cryptocurrency is just a way of using the blockchain to create a new type of money.
We can use blockchain technology to make tracking our renewable energy use better to incentivize their use.
Renewable resources, like wind farms, aren’t quite as reliable as fossil fuels yet.
They’re often grouped together in small groups called a “microgrid”, a small network of electricity producing equipment separate from the usual energy grid.
These microgrids must constantly switch back and forth between their own native energy supply and the fossil fuel burning energy grid when needed.
Tracking where the energy is actually coming from presents a challenge for energy companies.
This is where blockchain comes in.
If a wind turbine produces a megawatt-hour of clean energy, about enough to power 500 homes or so, an automatic renewable energy certificate (REC) is produced by the blockchain.
RECs are the way these microgrids cash in on their energy production. A hemp oil manufacturing facility could offer to buy RECs on behalf of CBD brands.
Those same CBD brands can now advertise themselves as a “green” company.
Just because a company didn’t directly buy RECs themselves doesn’t mean they can’t use it as a selling point.
“Green” server farms buy RECs to offset their energy use and pass this along to businesses hosted on their servers.
CBD manufacturing facilities could one day offer the same opportunity to the brands they supply product to.
Why Transparency Will Make or Break Your Brand in This Industry
Entries into the blockchain can’t be changed. Ever. By anyone.
If you need to make changes to an entry after it has been blocked in you’ll need to create an entirely new entry with the changes, like a refund.
But it makes audits a breeze. Especially in an industry like hemp oil farming where investigators want to know everything down to the purchases you even thought about making.
Imagine never having to worry about getting slammed with a tax bill you weren’t expecting because of an administrative problem.
You may have even experienced this already with one of your other businesses. Nothing is worse than feeling like you’re on the way up, fulfilling all the potential your brand has to offer only to be hit with a tax lien.
ERP & Blockchain
Instead of waiting months for an invoice to go through all the right hands, blockchain allows businesses to automatically and immediately post to each other’s ledgers.
For example, an order would instantly be added to your balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow accounts.
You wouldn’t have to worry about anything getting lost in the shuffle.
But we’ve all experienced first hand the problems that come from automation. You’ve probably overspent on a subscription service or auto-renewal you forgot to disable.
And with every new piece of technology, we use we give hackers another entry point to steal our data.
It’s easy to shrug off blockchain as a passing trend. Why take risks when the old way of doing things is good enough?
That’s why these kinds of posts to a businesses bookkeeping system still require human approval.
Think of blockchain as a vending machine for everything from invoices to legal documents. It still needs someone to put money in and activate that little spiral mechanism that pushes your favorite sugary snack forward.
Blockchain for Supply Chain Receipts
Not only can the blockchain be used to document anytime a product changes hands, a recent experiment demonstrated how items can be stamped with a unique chemical signature.
The point of the experiment was to find a way to prevent counterfeiting of 3D printed parts but could also be applied to CBD manufacturing.
Any bottle or package of CBD product could be stamped with a tiny QR code, the kind you scan with your phone and automatically tell whether it is an authentic product from a trusted vendor or a fake.
Think about the possible consequences of your line of CBD Lotions being knocked off by some fly by night seller, only to have unlisted ingredients. This can put your customers’ health and your reputation on the line.
Think it can’t happen to you because you’re only sold in reputable retailers? A University study found nine of the CBD products they bought at a regular brick and mortar retailers contained no information on where the product was from or manufactured.
Zero traces of anyone to contact in case of a complaint, or even a website. And that’s the least of their problems…
They all contained unlisted ingredients, several of which illegal. DXM, an ingredient common in cough syrup also made an appearance in several of the products.
By adding some kind of harmless chemical signature to industrial hemp we could guarantee the origin of our products.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT)
You’ve heard of the internet of things, but what about the industrial internet of things?
By connecting every sensor, checkpoint, and safety precaution to the blockchain manufacturers can ensure with far more security than ever before no steps are missed during the process.
Blockchain as a Platform for Industrial Internet of Things (BPIIOT)
Think of blockchain as the gatekeeper for your cloud manufacturing network.
Even though we can easily connect to manufacturing resources via the cloud, we need to be sure only authorized people can get in.
So blockchain automates this process.
Why Blockchain is So Secure
So if blockchain is just a way to store information, what makes it any different than a standard data center operating the servers hosting all your favorite websites?
Most of the time we connect to a server with a master copy of a document. If there are no security issues only site administrators should have access to make changes.
But there’s only one copy, so if someone without permission gets in to make changes, it can be hard to know what they did.
We often think of hackers as robbers, looting us all at once. But it takes companies an average of 206 days before noticing they’ve had a data breach.
So how does bitcoin change this?
Instead of one master copy, blockchain gives everyone in the network a copy of the document.
So if something is changed on one, but not the others, the changes won’t be recognized as legitimate.
For example, an unreputable supplier trying to go back and change the amount due on an old invoice would call more attention to itself than a Burmese tiger walking in the open streets of downtown LA.
Because altering past entries into the blockchain makes the digital signature that went with it invalid.
It’s like someone signing their name over your signature on a notarized document. No one would take it seriously.
It takes so much computing power to hack into the blockchain there’s no way you could do it from a single computer.
Decentralization is appealing to many who want freedom from third-party cash gatekeepers like big banks.
It’s why many CBD manufacturing companies have trouble accepting payment through regular means.
Even though it’s now legal in all 50 states and D.C., third-party payment processors, like Paypal or even Stripe, are known to turn down businesses they consider high risk.
The success of CBD brands and many other industries rests on the ability to process payments and these third-party vendors know it all too well.
But what if you could cut out the middleman and make a transaction directly with your customers?
Unlike centralized databases which need a lot of resources to scale, blockchain has unlimited ability to scale.
Why Blockchain, AI, and the Supply Chain Are a Perfect Match
When it comes down to it, there are only three business processes that need to happen for a healthy supply chain.
Move raw materials and finished products one way, money should go the opposite direction, and data about everything needs to flow like water dripping off a counter in both directions.
Without trust in the data both sides are receiving, we can’t have a successful supply chain. IIoT devices installed in factories and distribution centers are like the blockchain’s mouth.
These devices consume all the data they can in order to secure it with the blockchain. AI then adds the analytical touch to actually give all this data some meaning.
What Does All This Mean for Employees?
As more and more of the supply chain move to automation, what does this mean for the job market?
It means employees will need to gain new skills to optimize how we use AI and blockchain.
Data scientists are one of the fastest growing careers because of the immense amount of data the IIoT is producing.
Data is easy to come by. A single day in a manufacturing facility can produce terabytes of data. That’s 1,000 gigabytes. For comparison, most smartphones have about 16 GB worth of storage.
Data scientists take this raw, seemingly meaningless data and interpret it into useful guidance.
If a machine on the line has been slowing down in the past few weeks, a data scientist will look at why.
Does the machine need maintenance or do we need a new one altogether? Keeping the entire supply chain at optimum efficiency is the goal of producing endless amounts of data.
But data scientists are human and still need the help of computers to narrow down the volumes of data IIoT devices make.
Can you guess what one of the biggest time and money pits is for manufacturers? Unplanned downtime costs the manufacturing industry an estimated $50 billion annually.
Equipment failure is to blame for almost half of unplanned downtime.
By training AI programs to constantly monitor the state of our equipment we can set up routine maintenance in order to prevent downtime.
How Going Digital is Helping Real Businesses
Bain & Company are one of three of the most prestigious management consultancies in the country.
In a briefing, they presented readers with a real-life case study of one of their clients. A major U.S. retailer was under fire from some of it’s most loyal customers.
Why? This retailer’s store brand version of some of its customers’ favorite consumer packaged goods (CPG) gained a huge following over the years.
Seems like a slam dunk for the retailer, right? Lots of sales of products that required little to no marketing budget is a seller’s dream come true.
But as you may have experienced yourself, sometimes not being able to meet demand is just as much of a problem as lagging sales.
Customers were complaining more than a toddler two hours after missing naptime. Most of the top selling store brand items customers had come to love were constantly out of stock.
Terrified of losing any more sales the retailer turned to Bain & Company for a solution.
By upgrading the IT infrastructure of the retailer’s stores, a purchase made at an Ohio cash register could immediately be seen by executives in New York.
With this real-time purchasing data, they were able to order the right amount of product days before they ran out.
Customer complaints left as soon as they came.
The phenomenon of connecting all machinery in a factory to the internet has a name.
Industry 4.0 describes the way IIoT, AI, and blockchain are all working together to remove people away from the mundane task of operating machinery.
No matter what your business, employees will find a way to hurt themselves.
Whether it’s one of OSHA’s fatal four or something as small as a slip, getting employees off the factory floor and into the office is best for both sides.
Migrating to industry 4.0’s smart factories will bring down the cost of CBD manufacturing even further.
That’s why it’s important to get started now. Get in touch with a CBD manufacturer before the market is flooded.
IoT has become the catch-all term for any device connected to the internet, but manufacturers can take advantage of a more specialized system.
Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are a different take on connecting devices to a network. IoT has its roots in communication technology.
While many IoT devices are great at transmitting data, they can be limited in their control over a network.
CPS systems don’t even need to be connected to the internet. They can be set up within a closed network so data is safer than when exposed to the internet.
Why would you want that? Unlike IoT, which dreams of connecting everything from watches to toothbrushes to the internet for data collection, CPS is more about real-time tracking.
Sensors in factory equipment can’t wait on the lag that comes with IoT. CPS is more about hybrid network models that incorporate real-time data transfer with the watchful eye of a real person making sure there are no errors.
What’s really cool about CPS systems is they actually create a virtual copy of the physical machine they represent.
Because the virtual machine and physical machine are directly connected, you can control the physical machine in real-time even if you’re logged into the virtual machine halfway across the world.
Imagine if there was an emergency at your factory and you needed to shut some machinery down ASAP. The problem is, you’re in a business meeting 3,000 miles away.
Just open up your CPS system on any computer and power off the necessary machinery.
Hemp and CBD Manufacturing Should Be Trustworthy…
Blockchain is still in its infancy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on the best CBD products for your customers.
Spring Creek Labs own every from the farm to the lab. Everything is made in house, not passed back and forth from farmers to distributors.
You know how much work starting a new brand is. Don’t bother trying to put together a supply chain on your own when Spring Creek has put millions into their setup.
You’ll come out of the gates swinging as if you had a billion-dollar venture capital firm backing you.
Offer your customers high-quality CBD products you can feel good about. Email us now for a free custom quote.
The CBD manufacturing industry isn’t going to wait. Start now and grow with demand.
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