Walmart Canada recognized for blockchain payment system

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – DL Freight, a supply chain invoice and payment platform, has been chosen by the Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) as one of six finalists for its Supply Chain Innovation Award. DL Freight has been adopted by Walmart Canada as its national standard for freight invoice and payment management among its carriers. The solution is now managing 500,000 loads annually with only two percent discrepancies, which represents a 97 percent reduction from previous levels.

The essential service of moving a massive quantity of goods, many of which are perishable, across borders, time zones and different climates, is an enormous operational challenge. The information, particularly costs and charges, have historically been extremely difficult to calculate.

Despite good intentions, there are often vastly different understandings and duelling calculations, over the amounts due under invoices. One pervasive issue is the discrepancies over variable costs, or accessorial charges, that often arise. For example, each of the 500,000 loads at Walmart Canada requires tracking over 200 data points from diverse and often conflicting sources and systems, simply to prepare, or check, an invoice.

Compounding this complexity, service providers each have their own information systems, business practices, and networks. Understandably there were serious reconciliation challenges and complications.

To solve this industry-wide challenge, DLT Labs needed to solve a fundamental paradox. How could each carrier continue to use their existing, unique information systems yet at the same time share reliable, standardized information with Walmart?

DL Freight is the solution they came up with. All applicable information from each carrier, IoT devices and Walmart Canada is automatically and continuously captured in real-time, and shared and synchronized on a single distributed ledger which is visible only to the parties to the transaction.

Instead of trying to change legacy systems or business practices, it captures the information generated by each party. Rather than concerns over multiple records and reconciliation, there is now a single, unified source of information – referred to as the single source of truth.

The solution goes even further to automatically and continuously perform all necessary fintech calculations in real-time, while also providing automated checks and balances including, for example, using the integrity of objective IoT data.

As a result, having managed the process from start to finish, all parties have full visibility, and the shipping charges due at any point in time during a delivery can be accurately assessed. Finally, pursuant to the individual contract terms, the invoice is automatically delivered into the ERP system and paid. Back-office functions are automated.

“The biggest change for Walmart Canada since using DL Freight is the reduction in manual work to resolve disputes,” said John Bayliss, senior vice-president, logistics and supply chain, Walmart Canada.

“The cost and the waste associated with chasing dispute resolution has come down dramatically from over 70 percent disputes of our invoices at peak times to under two percent with the DL Freight solution. We are seeing the proof of the waste that can be wrung out of the system from this technology.”

“Walmart is an extremely financially disciplined organization that requires a clear and substantial ROI. In the case of their adoption of DL Freight, the speed of payback was extremely fast, and the annual return on investment is easily measured in the millions,” said Loudon Owen, CEO of DLT Labs.

“At the same time, the carriers are also experiencing material savings in time and money, coupled with faster payments, so all members of the Walmart/DL Freight transportation ecosystem benefit operationally and financially.”

While DL Freight eliminates any need for conventional reconciliation, it also creates an unprecedented level of trust based on end-to-end supply chain visibility among all parties. Reliable and accurate information is, of course, fundamental to effective decision-making.

Bayliss says, “The DL Freight™ platform has opened up a tremendous amount of opportunity for Walmart Canada to record and track parts of information that had been disparate around our transportation business.” Bayliss adds, “We see all the shipment information together in one ledger that originally was a payment platform, but we are using it much more as an information platform to give us insight on how we run our business.”

Across the freight and logistics industries, the industry is plagued with high administrative costs, lengthy payment delays, and costly invoice reconciliation. There are overpayments, underpayments, and non-payments; the one thing all parties can agree on is that there are delayed payments.

Owen says, “The invoice disputes that are prevalent throughout supply chains are a pure and unmitigated waste of valuable resources which DL Freight solves. Beyond eliminating invoice disputes, and preserving valuable resources, DL Freight empowers organizations to achieve insights and operational efficiencies that are transformative.”

For over 10 years, supply chain teams worldwide have been submitting their cases to the Supply Chain Innovation Award (SCIA) for the opportunity to receive recognition and accolades by their industry peers on a global stage. The award will be presented at CSCMP’s Annual EDGE Conference in late September 2020.