Cisco, Lenovo, Nokia Join IBM’s New Blockchain Network for Supply Management

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 3 min read
Cisco, Lenovo, Nokia Join IBM’s New Blockchain Network for Supply Management
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IBM announced a new blockchain network aimed at improving manual and cumbersome supply chain management. The new blockchain network is called Trust Your Supplier.

In their press release shared with Coinspeaker, IBM announced a new blockchain network called Trust Your Supplier (TYS). It is a blockchain-based platform that simplifies supply chain management and improves supplier qualification, validation, onboarding, and life cycle information management.

As such, TYS will help reduce the risk of fraud and errors and establish a connected environment among global suppliers. With more than 18,500 global suppliers, IBM will begin using and onboarding 4,000 of its North American suppliers to the TYS network within the next few months.

Founding participants include Anheuser-Busch InBev, GlaxoSmithKline, Cisco, Lenovo, Nokia, Schneider Electric and Vodafone.

Traditional methods of managing suppliers often involved pretty unmanageable manual processes, which make it difficult to verify identities and track documents like ISO certifications, bank account information, tax certifications, and certificates of insurance throughout the lifecycle of a supplier.

Marie Wieck, general manager at IBM Blockchain said that onboarding cycle is typically very manual in many companies, even those with very efficient supply chains, just in terms of the vetting and validation of those suppliers.

“Getting a new supplier on-boarded quickly, particularly when there are new capabilities coming up every day, is critical to how rapidly you introduce new products and services.”

By using a decentralized approach and a permanent audit trail built on blockchain, Trust Your Supplier will eliminate manual time-consuming processes and reduce the risk of fraud and errors, ultimately creating frictionless connectivity across supply chains.

Wieck added that IBM’s own procurement organization projects a 70 to 80 percent reduction in the time it takes to get new suppliers onboard and an estimated 50 percent reduction in administrative costs within its own business.

According to technology research firm Gartner Inc., by 2023, blockchain will support the global movement and tracking of $2 trillion of goods and services annually.

Renee Ure, Chief Supply Chain Officer for Lenovo’s Data Center Group said that blockchain has the ability to completely transform how companies onboard and manage their supplier network for the future. He said:

“Through Trust Your Supplier, both buyers and suppliers will the see the procurement benefits of blockchain through reductions in cost, complexity and speed.”

He added that TYS creates a digital passport for supplier identity on the blockchain network that allows suppliers to share information with any permissioned buyer on the network.

Blockchain ensures a permissioned based data-sharing network and all of this should help reduce the time and cost associated with qualifying, validating and managing new suppliers while creating new business opportunities among suppliers and buyers.

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

As per the announcement, the TYS blockchain network can also connect existing procurement business networks by relaying necessary supplier data required for exchanging purchase orders and invoices, without the need for suppliers to enter it in multiple different networks and automating on-boarding process to those networks. The IBM Supply Chain Business Network can connect to TYS using open industry programming interfaces for access to existing verified supplier information.

Sanjay Mehta, Vice President Procurement, Nokia said that working with IBM and Chainyard on this blockchain initiative represents a great opportunity for Nokia to further enhance our suppliers’ experience and optimize the onboarding process. He added:

“Using the latest technology to address a classical challenge will be of benefit for everyone, and further increase the speed of using innovative solutions.”

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