To help government units and healthcare organizations discover non-traditional suppliers who have changed course to address the shortage of supplies needed for COVID-19 relief efforts, IBM unveiled a blockchain-based network called IBM Rapid Supplier Connect. The technology is available without a cost up until August 31 to “qualified buyers and suppliers” in the United States as well as Canada, according to an announcement.
The company said buyers that utilize the network can benefit from a wider range of suppliers beyond their traditional supply chain, validation checks, a streamlined onboarding process for suppliers, and inventory information in almost real time. Suppliers, on the other hand, received the benefit of access to user feedback, the ability to post/manage inventory availability, and a portable online identity.
Suppliers and buyers becoming a part the network include hospitals and organizations like Northwell Health. Phyllis McCready, Northwell Health vice president and chief procurement officer, said in the announcement, “It is through creating our own GPOs and supply chain, and joining forces with non-traditional suppliers that we have maintained an adequate stockpile of PPE and other equipment and supplies, so we are pleased to join IBM Rapid Supplier Connect.”
Rapid Supplier Connect complements current supply chain networks as well as their payment services. But buyers can use the services of CDAX, a third-party paymaster, for a charge. It is forecast that it will take suppliers and buyers roughly a half hour to become a part of the network.
IBM, for its part, tapped into the Chainyard-built Trust Your Supplier platform for qualification/identification, along with the Inventory Visibility microservice and Sterling Supply Chain Suite, to prove real-time insight into a changing and uncertain supply chain.
IBM and Chainyard had announced Trust Your Supplier in August, which was described at the time as a new blockchain network for supply chain management created to bolster supplier validation, life cycle data management and onboarding. Other founding participants alongside IBM included GlaxoSmithKline, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Schneider Electric, among others.