IBM has introduced a new blockchain project called Trust Your Supplier (TYS), with multiple firms like Anheuser-Busch InBev, GlaxoSmithKline, Lenovo, Nokia, Schneider Electric and Vodafone on board.
The project will concentrate on supplier onboarding, which covers a wide and varied assortment of supplier information like ISO certifications, bank account data, tax certifications, certificates of insurance and other supplier data required for exchanging purchase orders and invoices.
Marie Wieck, general manager at IBM Blockchain, said, “the onboarding cycle is typically very manual in many companies, event those with very efficient supply chains, just in terms of 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.”
Backing this up, Renee Ure, chief supply chain officer for Lenovo’s data center group, said, “Through Trust Your Supplier, both buyers and suppliers will see the procurement benefits of blockchain through reductions in cost, complexity and speed.”
With this project, IBM expects to see a 70–80 percent decrease in the cycle time to onboard new suppliers, with a potential 50 percent reduction in administrative costs within its own business.
TYS is currently limited to the existing participants, with plans for commercial availability in Q3 of this year. Wieck said that, for now, its footprint is confined to North America, but the intention is for a global network.
A key innovation at the heart of TYS is a “digital passport” for supplier identity. Wieck said the digital passport is specifically tailored to TYS, but like most things IBM does, it has been created with pluggable open interfaces in mind.