Tech

Steve Kaaru

IBM partners with Chainyard to launch blockchain supply chain platform

IBM has launched a blockchain-based platform aimed at simplifying supply chain management. Known as Trust Your Supplier, the new platform will improve supplier qualification, validation, onboarding and lifecycle information management. In a press release shared with CoinGeek, IBM revealed that some of the founding participants include Nokia, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Vodafone.

The existing methods of managing suppliers often involve tedious manual processes, which make it difficult to track documents such as tax certifications, bank account information, ISO certifications and more. Trust Your Supplier will uses the decentralized and immutable blockchain platform to eliminate these manual processes and reduce fraud. This will ultimately create a frictionless connectivity across supply chains, the Big Blue stated.

The platform creates a digital passport for supplier identity on the blockchain network. This allows suppliers to share information with any permissioned buyer on the network. In doing so, the participants reduce the time and cost associated with “qualifying, validating and managing new suppliers while creating new business opportunities among suppliers and buyers.”

While the use of blockchain technology in supply chain management has been known to reduce costs and improve efficiency, many companies continue to shy away due to the high setup costs. However, according to David Post, the managing director at IBM Blockchain Ventures, the new system will greatly reduce the associated costs.

Speaking to CoinGeek, he stated, “Trust Your Supplier is an e-procurement system and business network agnostic, meaning that large buyers can integrate Trust Your Supplier information into their existing system and workflows using APIs. Since Trust Your Supplier serves as a feed into existing systems, set up costs—both in terms of staff time and technologically—are minimal. Moreover, network access is provided free of charge to large buyers. Similarly, suppliers can create a profile in under an hour that can be shared with any buyer on the network.”

IBM has over 18,500 suppliers globally and will begin onboarding over 4,000 of its North American suppliers over the next few months, the company revealed. The tech giant projects a potential 50% reduction in administrative costs once it on boards its suppliers.

IBM partnered with Chainyard, a North Carolina-based blockchain startup, on the project. Post explained why IBM linked up with the startup, “Over the last 5 years, Chainyard has emerged as an important partner for IBM in the blockchain space. Chainyard are experts in blockchain application development and contribute a lot of code to Hyperledger.. By combining Chainyard’s ability to move fast with IBM’s blockchain expertise and client relationships, we have been able to convene this network much quicker than each organization could have done working independently.”

Among the founding participants in the network include tech and electronics heavyweights including Lenovo, Nokia and Schneider Electric, telecom giant Vodafone, British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and Belgian brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev. The platform is expected to be made commercially available in Q3 this year.

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