IBM has announced IBM Rapid Supplier Connect, a blockchain-based network designed to help government agencies and healthcare organizations identify new, non-traditional suppliers who have pivoted to address the shortage of equipment, devices and supplies needed for COVID-19 relief efforts, the company reported on Monday.
"Northwell Health has had adequate supplies to protect patients and our staff during the increase in New York COVID-19 patient cases," said Phyllis McCready, vice president and chief procurement officer at Northwell Health. "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."
IBM Rapid Supplier Connect will enable suppliers and buyers currently joining the network, including hospitals and other organizations such as Northwell Health and The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation, expedite the procurement system.
These organizations have reconfigured to mass produce masks, gowns and other essential supplies. In order to begin purchasing from them at scale, buyers such as hospitals, state procurement divisions and pharmacies, will be able to identify new suppliers, efficiently vet and on-board them, and understand their real-time inventory availability with Rapid Supplier Connect.
The network will also identify existing supplies and excess inventory going unused, allowing hospitals to make it available to others and redirect supplies where they are needed most. Buyers who access the network can benefit from a range of suppliers outside of the traditional supply chain.
In addition, suppliers will benefit from a portable online identity, access to user feedback and the ability to post and manage inventory availability. IBM has harnessed the Trust Your Supplier blockchain-based identity platform built by Chainyard for qualification and identification, in conjunction with Sterling Supply Chain Suite and highly scalable Inventory Visibility microservice to deliver this increased visibility.