With the world increasingly going digital, it is important that companies and businesses also evolve and integrate new technologies and ways of doing business into their operations. Doing so allows them to solve persistent problems, and stay relevant for consumers and partners at the same time. One of the technologies that has been creating a lot of buzz in recent years is blockchain, and it is now being increasingly adopted by companies all over the world for multiple purposes.
Walmart Canada is just one example of a company that is doing so, using blockchain to solve payment and invoicing issues. Before it began using blockchain to be able to pay its trucking companies on time, it was reported that up to 70% of invoices faced some sort of problem, where the numbers did not match those of the company’s. This led to a lot of inefficiency, where Walmart employees had to manually sort out charges for each trucking load, while payments to carriers were also delayed. To alleviate these problems, Walmart turned to Toronto-based startup DLT Labs, which then deployed a customized version of its freight tracking, invoicing, and payment system. The results have been very impressive so far, with the system having logged over 150,000 invoices by the end of August, with less than 2% being disputed.
This is just one example of a company using blockchain technology to its advantage. With the ongoing pandemic, we have seen many businesses go online to try and survive, and thus also turn to cryptocurrencies to improve their offering for customers. There is also the case of a Canadian restaurant chain, Tahinis, which converted all of its cash balance into bitcoin. The owner, Omar Haman, reasoned that the value of cash will only decline in the future, and so decided to convert all of the chain’s savings into bitcoin. He has also stated that he will continue doing so for the near future, and perhaps even in perpetuity if he feels that the business does not need cash. In another example, where most businesses have gone online, we have also seen a multitude of gambling companies set up or partner with online gambling sites in order to keep business going while land-based casinos are shut. With Canada’s relaxed rules towards cryptocurrencies, many of them have been offering bitcoin and other cryptos as payment and withdrawal options, leading to a rise in the number of bitcoin casino games in Canadian crypto casinos, as these are popularly known. These are just a few instances that show how popular blockchain and cryptocurrencies already are.
Coming back to Walmart, it was important that these invoicing problems were solved soon, since they often got quite complicated, especially with multiple fuel surcharges being added as the truck drives through multiple American states into Canada, and so it was not just a simple case of the base rate and the distance traveled. The issues that were created were also causing problems in the relationship that Walmart had built up with the various carriers, due to delayed and disputed payments. Thus, it was necessary to quickly streamline the process, eliminate errors and misunderstandings, and therefore deliver an efficient supply chain for Walmart and its clients, as well as the truckers and carriers. Thus, bringing a blockchain-based system to automatically process payments immediately sped up the process. The system was so successful that it has now become the standard for Walmart to use across Canada for its invoicing and payments. The company is also looking at additional ways to use DLT’s platform to improve its load tracking and visibility, with real-time tracking and sharing being available as well.