To tackle COVID-19 with technological solutions, IBM announced the IBM Rapid Supplier Connect on April 27, 2020.
A network (blockchain-based) designed to assist healthcare companies and government agencies in addressing medical supply chain shortages, it’s an innovative idea. It works by identifying new and non-conventional suppliers. In turn, these suppliers are addressing the scarcity of devices. Scarcity has been rampant with equipment, and supplies required for the coronavirus relief efforts.
Rapid Supplier Connect is made available until 31st August 2020 to qualified suppliers and buyers in Canada and the United States of America. Furthermore, these individuals do not have to pay anything (free of cost) to avail this service.
Buyers and suppliers joining the network currently include hospitals and other establishments like many major New York healthcare providers. It also includes the TWSCF (The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation) that is bringing onboard American suppliers in excess of 200 from its 3000 community members.
The Need for IBM Supplier Connect
With first responders such as healthcare staff feeling the effect of supply chains disturbed by overwhelming challenges, several small and large businesses from outside the conventional healthcare procurement system are pivoting to produce gowns, masks, and other essential supplies at a large scale. Large volume buyers include hospitals, pharmacies, and state procurement divisions. They all require assistance in finding out and vetting these new suppliers. It also takes time for onboarding and gaining an understanding of their real-time available inventory.
That is where the IBM Supplier Connect comes in! Moreover, the network aids in identifying current supplies and surplus inventory that is not being used. This enables hospitals to make the inventory available to others and direct supplies to where they are most required.
Benefits to Buyers and Suppliers
Buyers accessing the network can gain advantage from a wide range of suppliers outside of their conventional supply chain, validation checks, and real-time information about inventory. Suppliers gain from a portable online identity, credentials that users validate, and the ability to manage inventory.
IBM Rapid Supplier Connect also aligns with current supply chain networks and their systems of payment. Additionally, buyers also have the flexibility to engage the services of a third-party paymaster, CDAX. On behalf of buyers, CDAX will secure funds in a settlement and custody account. In turn, the buyer carries out verification of acceptance of the order and sends the funds to the seller. To make sure that only reliable suppliers with proper production methods are part of the IBM Rapid Supplier Connect network, Project N95 will also assist with vetting suppliers.
KYC SiteScan will offer due diligence “Know Your Business” report access and Dun & Bradstreet is providing assistance in the form of firmographic data, identity resolution, and supplier viability and risk scores.