IBM Launches 'Trust Your Supplier' Blockchain Network

Neil Dennis

IBM's blockchain team has launched a new supply chain project called Trust Your Supplier (TYS), with several big corporate names already signed up, the company announced on Monday.

Together with Chainyard, the blockchain services and consulting company, IBM has also partnered with mobile network companies Vodafone and Nokia, brewer InBev, tech firms Cisco and Lenovo and drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.

Third-party validators Dun & Bradstreet, Ecovadis and RapidRatings have been brought in to provide independent verification and audit capabilities on the network.

TYS has been built on the IBM Blockchain Platform which, in turn, is built using the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Fabric open-source blockchain project. The network is hosted on IBM Cloud.      

Supply Chain 

According to the press release, TYS is aimed at improving the supplier onboarding process using a blockchain network to verify various supply chain information such as purchase orders, insurance and tax certifications as well as bank account data.

IBM said by using a decentralized approach it has built a secure audit trail that will help eliminate costly and time consuming manual processes and reduce the risk of errors or fraudulent activity within the supply chain.

Renee Ure, chief supply chain officer at Lenovo's Data Center Group, said:

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 see the procurement benefits of blockchain through reductions in cost, complexity, and speed.

IBM, which has around 18,500 global suppliers, believes that its own procurement division will see a 70-80% reduction in the time taken to bring new suppliers on board and estimates a 50% cut in administrative costs, when it implements the TYS platform over the next few months.

Other IBM Blockchain Projects

IBM has been massively busy adapting blockchain into enterprise projects over the past few years and is leading the blockchain patent ownership in the US. Data published last month showed the company owns 108 blockchain patents - a 300% increase over the previous year.

Indeed, the company is involved in several track-and-trace style blockchain applications and announced in June a pilot programme - in partnership with drug company Merck, retailer Walmart and the US Food and Drug Administration - to track the prescription drug supply chain from producer to end user.

The company is also heavily involved in blockchain-powered payments applications, announcing in March the launch of IBM Blockchain World Wire, a real-time global payments network for regulated financial institutions.