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IBM and Chainyard unveil Trust Your Supplier blockhain network

IBM and blockchain services and consulting specialist Chainyard have announced Trust Your Supplier (TYS), a blockchain network designed to improve supplier qualification, validation, on boarding and life cycle information management.

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

Trust Your Supplier is designed to eliminate manual time-consuming processes and help reduce the risk of fraud and errors, creating frictionless connectivity across supply chains.

“Blockchain has the ability to completely transform how companies onboard and manage their supplier network for the future,” said Renee Ure, Chief Supply Chain Officer for Lenovo’s Data Center Group. “Through Trust Your Supplier, both buyers and suppliers will the see the procurement benefits of blockchain through reductions in cost, complexity and speed.”

Trust Your Supplier creates a digital passport for supplier identity on the blockchain network that allows suppliers to share information with any permissioned buyer on the network.

The partners says Blockchain ensures a permissioned based data sharing network, helping 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 provide outside verification or audit capabilities directly on the network.

“Working with IBM and Chainyard on this blockchain initiative represents a great opportunity for Nokia to further enhance our suppliers’ experience and optimise the onboarding process,” said Sanjay Mehta, Vice President Procurement, Nokia. “Using the latest technology to address a classical challenge will be of benefit for everyone, and further increase the speed of using innovative solutions.”

With over 18,500 suppliers around the world, IBM will begin using the Trust Your Supplier network initially onboarding 4,000 of its own North American suppliers over the next few months. IBM Procurement projects a 70 to 80 percent reduction in the cycle time to onboard new suppliers, with a potential 50 percent reduction in administrative costs within its own business.

IBM takes Food Trust blockchain network global as Carrefour jumps on board

IBM’s food supply chain network, IBM Food Trust, is now ‘generally available’ for use by retailers, suppliers, growers and food industry providers with data from across the food ecosystem.

The network, which IBM says enables greater traceability, transparency and efficiency, has been testing for the last 18 months, during which its claims millions of individual food products have been tracked by retailers and suppliers.

In addition to the global availability of the system, retail giant Carrefour has announced it will use Food Trust blockchain network to highlight consumers’ confidence in a number of Carrefour-branded products. As a commitment of the retailer’s Act for Food program, the solution is expected to expand to all Carrefour brands worldwide by 2022.

“Being a founding member of the IBM Food Trust platform is a great opportunity for Carrefour to accelerate and widen the integration of blockchain technology to our products in order to provide our clients with safe and undoubted traceability,” said Laurent Vallée, general secretary of Carrefour. “This is a decisive step in the roll-out of Act for Food, our global program of concrete initiatives in favor of the food transition.”

Here’s how it works: Using blockchain for trusted transactions, food can be quickly traced back to its source in as little as a few seconds instead of days or weeks. Unlike traditional databases, the attributes of blockchain and the ability to permission data, enables network members to gain a new level of trusted information. Transactions are endorsed by multiple parties, leading to an immutable single version of the truth.

“The currency of trust today is transparency and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared,” Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Clients, Platforms and Blockchain. “That collaborative approach is how the members of IBM Food Trust have shown blockchain can strengthen transparency and drive meaningful enhancements to food traceability. Ultimately that provides business benefits for participants and a better and safer product for consumers.” 

In addition to Carrefour, organisations joining IBM Food Trust include:

  • Leading cooperative Topco Associates, LLC, representing 49 members, reaching over 15,000 stores and 65 million weekly customers;
  • Retailer-owned cooperative Wakefern, representing 50 member companies and 349 stores;
  • Suppliers including BeefChain, Dennick Fruit Source, Scoular and Smithfield.

“Blockchain holds the potential to help us be more transparent and transform how the food industry works by speeding up investigations into contaminated food, authenticating the origin of food, and providing insights about the conditions and pathway the food traveled to identify opportunities to maximize shelf life and reduce losses due to spoilage,” said Ed Treacy, Vice President of Supply Chain Efficiencies at the Produce Marketing Association.

These newest participants join a movement that is accelerating among retailers and suppliers. For example, Walmart, an early proponent of blockchain technology, recently announced that it will begin requiring its leafy green suppliers to capture digital, end-to-end traceability event information using IBM Food Trust.

Beyond the goal of making food safer, the IBM Food Trust network and accompanying solutions have expanded to focus on optimising the food supply chain. This includes generating insights on product freshness, reducing waste and making the supply chain more collaborative and transparent.

IBM is working with services and technology providers to contribute important supply chain, provenance, testing and sensor data to the blockchain ecosystem. Through a library of IBM Food Trust APIs, hardware, software and technology companies can write transaction data directly onto the blockchain network to provide valuable insights

“The power of IBM Food Trust is in bringing together not only retailers and suppliers but also the rest of the ecosystem touching our food supply,” said Natalie Dyenson, vice president, Food Safety & Quality, Dole. “For example, Dole is working with Centricity, a grower-owned partner, to connect audit data to the blockchain by leveraging the Trellis framework as a standard for the produce industry, using existing formats and processes. By simplifying on-farm and front-office reporting and putting data on the blockchain, IBM Food Trust has helped Dole unlock the value of compliance data across our suppliers and partners in a cost-effective way.”

Food Trust runs on the IBM Cloud and features enterprise-class security, reliability and scalability. The foundation of the technology relies on Hyperledger Fabric, an open source blockchain framework hosted by the Linux Foundation. In addition, the network includes compatibility with the GS1 standard used by much of the food industry to ensure interoperability for traceability systems.

Participants can select from three IBM Food Trust software-as-a-service modules with pricing that is scaled for small, medium and global enterprises, beginning at $100 per month. Suppliers can contribute data to the network at no cost.

IBM Food Trust is available as a subscription service for members of the food ecosystem to join.

94 companies join IBM-Maersk blockchain supply chain solution

Maersk and IBM have unveiled TradeLens, a platform jointly developed by the two companies to apply blockchain to the world’s global supply chain.

TradeLens is the result of a collaboration agreement between Maersk and IBM, a blockchain-enabled shipping solution designed to promote more efficient and secure global trade, bringing together various parties to support information sharing and transparency, and spur industry-wide innovation.

As part of the TradeLens early adopter program, IBM and Maersk also announced that 94 organizations are actively involved or have agreed to participate on the TradeLens platform built on open standards. The TradeLens ecosystem currently includes:

  • More than 20 port and terminal operators across the globe, including PSA Singapore, International Container Terminal Services Inc, Patrick Terminals, Modern Terminals in Hong Kong, Port of Halifax, Port of Rotterdam, Port of Bilbao, PortConnect, PortBase, and terminal operators Holt Logistics at the Port of Philadelphia, join the global APM Terminals’ network in piloting the solution. This accounts for approximately 234 marine gateways worldwide that have or will be actively participating on TradeLens.
  • Pacific International Lines (PIL) have joined Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd as global container carriers participating in the solution.
  • Customs authorities in the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia and Peru are participating, along with customs brokers Ransa and Güler & Dinamik.
  • Participation among beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) has grown to include Torre Blanca / Camposol and Umit Bisiklet.
  • Freight forwarders, transportation and logistics companies including Agility, CEVA Logistics, DAMCO, Kotahi, PLH Trucking Company, Ancotrans and WorldWide Alliance are also currently participating.

TradeLens uses IBM Blockchain technology as the foundation for digital supply chains, empowering multiple trading partners to collaborate by establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality.

Shippers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation and customs authorities can interact more efficiently through real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents, including IoT and sensor data ranging from temperature control to container weight.

Using blockchain smart contracts, TradeLens says it enables digital collaboration across the multiple parties involved in international trade. The trade document module, released under a beta program and called ClearWay, enables importers/exporters, customs brokers, trusted third parties such as Customs, other government agencies, and NGOs to collaborate in cross-organizational business processes and information exchanges, all backed by a secure, non-repudiable audit trail.

During the 12-month trial, Maersk and IBM worked with dozens of ecosystem partners to identify opportunities to prevent delays caused by documentation errors, information delays, and other impediments.

One example demonstrated how TradeLens can reduce the transit time of a shipment of packaging materials to a production line in the United States by 40 percent, avoiding thousands of dollars in cost. Through better visibility and more efficient means of communicating, some supply chain participants estimate they could reduce the steps taken to answer basic operational questions such as “where is my container” from 10 steps and five people to, with TradeLens, one step and one person.

More than 154 million shipping events have been captured on the platform, including data such as arrival times of vessels and container “gate-in”, and documents such as customs releases, commercial invoices and bills of lading. This data is growing at a rate of close to one million events per day.

Traditionally, some of this data can be shared through the EDI systems commonly used in the supply chain industry but these systems are inflexible, complex, and can’t share data in real-time. Too often, companies must still share documents via email attachment, fax and courier. TradeLens can track critical data about every shipment in a supply chain, and offers an immutable record among all parties involved.

“TradeLens uses blockchain technology to create an industry standard for the secure digitization and transmission of supply chain documents around the world,” commented Peter Levesque, CEO of Modern Terminals. “This initiative will generate tremendous savings for our industry over time while enhancing global supply chain security. Modern Terminals is pleased to participate as a Network Member in testing this exciting shipping industry innovation.”

“As a global logistics provider, CEVA sees a unique opportunity in TradeLens, joining forces with IBM, Maersk and other actors from our industry to promote global standards around an open and neutral solution, delivering on the promise of blockchain. It is an important step in our relentless journey to deliver increased value to all our customers and making business flow,” said Christophe Cachat, CIO of CEVA Logistics.

“We believe blockchain can play an important role in digitizing global shipping, an area of the global economy that moves four trillion dollars of goods every year. However, success with the technology rests on a single factor –bringing the entire ecosystem together around a common approach that benefits all participants equally,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain. “Our work with Maersk and other enterprises in the shipping ecosystem has shown that blockchain can be used to form a strong, connected network in which all members gain by sharing important data and that together we can transform a vital part of how global trade is conducted.”