PartChain, BMW’s blockchain system, will integrate all providers into a tracking and communication system.

BMW, the renowned German vehicle manufacturer, announced that it is using blockchain technology to improve the transparency and traceability of vehicle parts in its supply chain. The car company started the PartChain project that they piloted since mid-2019.

As BMW recently informed, the system will help track vehicle parts in various production channels. Therefore, the company could control the supply chain of different international partners and collaborators.

The company issued a statement which explains that it requires a large number of partners to manufacture vehicle parts. These parts are necessary to assemble the cars. In this way, the BMW blockchain system, PartChain, will seek to integrate all commercial partners into a shared system that will track the parts until they arrive at the factory.

PartChain will allow BMW to have greater control in the shipment of parts in different production channels; thus, improving the operability and transparency of the operations related to the production process.

Andreas Wendt, Board of Management Member for Purchasing and Supplier Network at BMW, commented that the system does not allow changing the data. “PartChain enables tamper-proof data collection and transaction of data in our supply chain”, he said.

Wendt also added that the platform ensures that the information shared among its members is secure and incorruptible. “This move is designed to take the digitalization of purchasing at the BMW Group to the next level. Our vision is to create an open platform that will allow data within supply chains to be exchanged and shared safely and anonymized across the industry”.

The company has conducted the first tests of this platform by buying headlights for its vehicles. BMW buys these parts in conjunction with the German company Automotive Lighting.

After conducting pilot tests, the car company seeks to consolidate the use of this platform. Wendt said: “This year, we want to expand the project to a large number of other suppliers”. The goal is to roll out PartChain for ten other suppliers and also to expand the number of plants involved from two BMW Group has 31 manufacturing locations.

BMW hopes that this project achieves a greater scope in the future. Therefore, they not only aspire to improve the traceability of the entire auto parts supply chain but also seek to reach the control of minerals necessary for the manufacture of vehicles. Besides, PartChain currently uses Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web cloud services to support its blockchain.

In a similar project, the automobile company Volkswagen allied with Ford, IBM, and other companies to use blockchain technology to track Cobalt. This mineral is an essential raw material for making batteries for electric cars.

These are examples of how blockchain technology works in the automotive industry, especially to track materials that are necessary for the manufacture of vehicles. The versatility of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) continues to enable it to work in different industries, as it stores data securely and unalterable. This is what makes the difference.

By María Rodríguez


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