Piramal Glass has successfully kicked off its first cross-border trade digitisation programme using blockchain.

The Indian container glass manufacturer is prioritising the technology in 2021 as a means of unlocking hidden margins and efficiency through digital automation.

The team partnered with the enterprise blockchain platform, #dltledgers, a fintech operating out of Singapore and India.

The first phase of this project had four main objectives: to validate the production use of blockchain in Piramal Glass' supply chain and export operations; to increase transparency while protecting sensitive data and customer integrity; to understand if the technology could enable multiple stakeholders to collaborate on initiatives, such as sustainability; and to establish if blockchain delivers business value in terms of efficiency improvement and ease of use.

The Piramal Glass project may signal for India what is already happening elsewhere around the world - the rising penetration of blockchain in enterprise applications.

For years, blockchain was criticised for failing to deliver on its initial business promise. 2020, however, appears to have been a pivotal year.

As Deloitte's 2020 global blockchain survey concluded: "Leaders no longer consider the technology ground-breaking and merely promising - they now see it as integral to organisational innovation."

The Piramal Glass project will now progress into its next phase. The objective will be to streamline supply chain processes throughout the company's global manufacturing operations and to build out the company's private, digital network of suppliers and buyers.

The #dltledgers platform will have connectivity with Piramal's existing SAP systems and will enable export and import digitisation with multiple, global suppliers and buyers simultaneously. As the project proceeds, it will expand into more supply chain product flows, new areas like sustainability tracking, and tackle processes that depend on time-sensitive document transfer, IP security, and authenticity.

Vijay Shah, Vice Chairman of Piramal Glass and Piramal Group board member, added: "Piramal Glass is transforming into a digitally-enabled business. The board is aligning digital initiatives with the company's organizational strategy.

"Our customers and vendors are key to our business, so secrecy, privacy, and protecting the Intellectual Property of our stakeholders is of paramount importance. We see blockchain technology is an integral part of our ability to achieve this going forward."

Sudip Mazumder, Global Chief Digital and Information Officer, Piramal Glass, said: "The most obvious benefits were the increased level of transparency and audibility between stakeholders in the supply chain, as well as a reduction in manual processes.

“We were also pleasantly surprised to find that the platform created a sense of urgency, speeding up key business processes, improving collaboration, and even increasing confidence among customers."

Singapore-headquartered #dltledgers has a global partnership agreement with Microsoft's cloud offering, Azure. This enables the platform to scale quickly via a subscription-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Designed to be plug-and-play, the platform integrates with existing processes, with a relatively light touch on existing systems.