FinTechAutomationIBM launches blockchain supplier management platform

IBM launches blockchain supplier management platform

Trust Your Supplier solution designed to reduce the time and cost associated with qualifying, validating and managing new suppliers.

IBM and blockchain consultancy firm Chainyard have unveiled Trust Your Supplier (TYS) – a new blockchain network aimed at improving supplier qualification, validation, onboarding, and life cycle information management through automation.

IBM says its TYS solution creates a digital passport for supplier identity using blockchain that allows suppliers to share information with any permissioned buyer. Blockchain, the tech giant comments, ensures a permission-based data sharing network that should help reduce the time and cost associated with qualifying, validating and managing new suppliers while creating new business opportunities among suppliers and buyers.

The TYS platform network is built on top of Hyperledger Fabric, an open source blockchain project from the Linux Foundation.

Early reports from IBM indicate a 70 to 80% reduction in the cycle time to onboard new suppliers, with a potential 50% reduction in administrative costs within its own business.

Supplier information management

TYS network is a collaboration from Tech, Telecom, Pharma, Beverage and Manufacturing Companies to simplify supply chain management.

Sharing a common goal of solving challenges related to supplier information management, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, Lenovo, Nokia, Schneider Electric and Vodafone are founding participants.

Third-party validators, such as Dun & Bradstreet, Ecovadis and RapidRatings, will be allowed to provide outside verification or audit capabilities directly on the network.

According to the TYS website, the Blockchain based platform will present assistances to suppliers, buyers, and validators. For suppliers, it will do away with the need to unnecessarily collect and submit the same information to multiple buyers and reduce onboarding time all while providing a more trustworthy process. Buyers will be able to access real-time supplier data at a fraction of the cost while minimizing risk and simplifying supplier approval cycles. Verifiers can gain easy access to supplier compliance data with increased visibility to the entire network of Buyers and Suppliers.

Renee Ure, Chief Supply Chain Officer for Lenovo’s Data Center Group commented: “Blockchain has the ability to completely transform how companies onboard and manage their supplier network for the future. Through Trust Your Supplier, both buyers and suppliers will the see the procurement benefits of blockchain through reductions in cost, complexity and speed.”

Sanjay Mehta, Vice President Procurement, Nokia added: “Working with IBM and Chainyard on this blockchain initiative represents a great opportunity for Nokia to further enhance our suppliers’ experience and optimise the onboarding process. Using the latest technology to address a classical challenge will be of benefit for everyone, and further increase the speed of using innovative solutions.”

Adding additional functionality

IBM has over 18,500 suppliers around the world and will begin using the TYS network initially onboarding 4,000 of its own North American suppliers over the next few months. Plans are in place to make TYS commercially available in Q3 of 2019.

Unlike IBM’s other blockchain-based networks, which can track everything from produce to jewellery from origin to destination, there is no product tracking on the new distributed ledger.

David Post, managing director of Blockchain Ventures at IBM said: “TYS plans to add additional functionality over time as the network scales.”

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