Streamlining Supply Chains and Achieving Social Progress with DLT Labs
DLT Labs, founded in Canada in 2017, has contributed to a wide range of industries to address challenges such as achieving transparency of large-scale data management of complex supply chains with its innovative blockchain solutions. It operates globally, with a sales office in Singapore, an R&D center in India, operations in Africa, and in 2018 it entered the Japanese market. In Japan, blockchain technology is expected to facilitate the digital transformation of supply chains. In response to this, the industry with a high growth potential is receiving a boost from the Japanese government.
We interviewed Mr. Francis Lalonde, CCO of DLT Labs and Mr. Andrew Neuman, Business Development Manager of DLT Labs, Japan branch of DLT, about the significance of overseas companies entering the Japanese ICT market and the potential of blockchain technology in Japan.
Update : 2023/05
Blockchain: a technology with growing potential for Japan
As Japan pursues its policy of accelerating digital transformation for its economy and in society as a whole, blockchain technology is increasingly expected to play a key role in transforming business structures, alongside AI and IoT. While most people associate blockchain technology with cryptocurrencies, the technology has applications ranging far beyond finance. Blockchains effectively store all transaction histories into a single “chain” on a managed online network. They work like an open ledger, in which every transaction is permanently visible to everyone on that network. This makes all transactions highly transparent, easily traceable to all participants, and extremely difficult to falsify or tamper with, so blockchains can be applied to a wide range of industries facing challenges in sharing data reliably among all business parties.
Awareness around worker and product safety, data reliability, and considerations for the environment and human rights for products and services have skyrocketed, pushing companies to ensure transparency and credibility. However, products with complex supply chains face hurdles in managing quality and ensuring safety of materials or controls around the labor and manufacturing environment. By utilizing blockchain technology to control data flow within the supply chain, it is expected to streamline operations in many industries in Japan plagued by problems such as complex data management and cumbersome system updates, and revolutionize commercial flow management, with improved data transparency over traditional systems. In response to this, blockchain technology is receiving a boost from the Japanese government, which is encouraging domestic investment. One foreign company that has seized this commercial opportunity is DLT Labs, the world's number one leader in blockchain solutions for businesses.
Global growth and entry into Japan
DLT Labs is a Canada-based company headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, founded in 2017, currently with approximately 250 employees, which provides technology development and application implementation of blockchain solutions for industry. The company has since expanded its operations globally, with a sales office in Singapore, an R&D center in India, and operations in Africa.
The major turning point in DLT Labs’ development was its entry into the Japanese market in 2018. The company had a solid track record of providing blockchain solutions to major companies worldwide and was looking to address industry challenges in the world's third-largest economy, such as the growing need for better traceability, for transparency in procurement processes, and for tracking supply chain data for raw materials, food, and other products.
In Japan, paper-based manual processes can still be found in various workflows and have there is an increasing demand to automate processes. While some firms and municipalities remain cautious of current online services due to security issues, given the fact that blockchain technology will ensure the safety and reliability of digital data, DLT Labs' solutions are expected to further the digital transformation of Japan’s supply chains.
Managing large-scale supply-chain data with DLT Labs solution
DL Asset Track, a distributed ledger package from DLT Labs, has provided several solutions including supply chain rectification. Users can visualize the flow of information, goods, and money to eliminate bottlenecks, and make the flow smoother for better business efficiency. On DL Asset Track, data cannot be deleted or changed without leaving a fully visible record of the change, and inputs are recorded as unalterable data to ensure reliability in all workflows. “With smart contracts on DL Asset Track, we really can digest a level of complexity with smart dynamic data,” says DLT Labs CCO Francis Lalonde. “It provides a level of depth that other folks do not have. Together with distributed ledgers, it creates a level of trust that whatever the outcome is, it is something we have both agreed upon.”
In addition, the flexible configurable nature of the software allows users to create their own workflows and smart contracts with no or little coding. This means that it saves time and effort, and at the same time ensures accuracy as there is virtually no additional work involved. Users can easily start within one small business group and then deploy across the entire enterprise, setting transaction prices based on business scope, transaction volume, and number of users, allowing them to start new projects with the goal of achieving substantial cost savings and efficiency gains.
Providing a traceability system for JICA’s demonstration test aimed at eliminating child labor
The Japanese branch of DLT Labs, not only provides blockchain solutions in Japan, but has also applied for demonstrations outside Japan to broaden its efforts. DLT Labs was contracted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to conduct the study entitled "Information Collection and Verification Study on the Prevention of Child Labor Using Blockchain Technology in Cote d'Ivoire," in which the company participated for one year starting in February 2021. In the cacao industry, which accounts for 10% of Cote d'Ivoire's GDP, there are many cases where children from poor families end up working in the production process. This demonstration experiment, conducted with the cooperation of schools, farmers involved with the children, and an NGO that aims to eradicate hazardous labor acting as a third-party observer, established a system utilizing DLT Labs’ blockchain technology to monitor children involved in cacao production in order to curb their involvement in hazardous and harmful labor. The experience gained here is being used in other projects, such as a recent one with Lotte Co., Ltd., a confectionery manufacturing giant, aimed at improving traceability in cacao production.
Why DLT Labs decided to expand into Japan market
Speaking about the company’s decision to expand into the Japan market, Mr. Lalonde said “Japan is a sophisticated economy with world-leading tech that we absolutely had to get into. Aside from the US, it is perhaps the number two market. Japan is very mature, technology-wise, and there is a strong understanding of the tech and its use there, which we do not see everywhere, so it just makes sense for us.” As international business becomes more commonplace and simultaneously more complex, working out agreements for managing logistics becomes a key priority for firms of all sizes, so the conditions seemed right for DLT Labs to enter the market.
Finding the right partners, together with JETRO
Entering the Japan market was not a simple matter for such a new company. Establishing new relationships and building the level of trust required for clients, let alone multinational corporations like Lotte, takes a great deal of work and a strategic approach. JETRO invited DLT to speak on blockchain in the seventh session of the Jconnect Webinar Series, a thematic pitch event held by the JETRO Chicago office for local North American companies and Japanese companies to promote themselves and make business matches. When setting up their office in Tokyo, JETRO provided additional support in the form of the IBSC (Invest Japan Business Support Center), which provided real estate referrals for finding office space, free consultation on legal matters and regulations, and helpful information such as public subsidies and other incentives. Mr. Andrew Neuman, Business Development Manager of DLT Labs K.K. said,” We received assistance from JETRO to prepare for the establishment of our branch office and to raise the profile of DLT Labs in Japan.” These supports allowed them to concentrate on the most important aspects of their business when entering the new market such as getting clients to understand the benefits of their solutions. “We would like to continue participating in JETRO-sponsored business matching events going forward.”
Success Stories are based on interviews conducted with foreign companies and foreign-affiliated companies that have successfully come into the Japanese market.
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