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Vodafone using supplier management blockchain from IBM


Last week, Vodafone said it is using the Trust Your Supplier blockchain platform to promote and verify its suppliers. The initiative is part of a diversity and inclusion project by the company to increase the participation of women in the technology sector. 

Launched last year, Trust Your Supplier was developed by blockchain firm Chainyard in partnership with IBM. The platform aims to enable the management of suppliers and their qualifications. It will facilitate the verification and validation of supplier credentials for onboarding.   

Vodafone is among the early participants of the supplier management blockchain, along with Budweiser owner Anheuser-Busch InBev, Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, Lenovo, Nokia and Schneider Electric.

Trust Your Supplier creates a digital passport of the supplier, allowing them to share information with any buyer on the network. With blockchain’s immutability securing the data, it reduces the time and cost for qualifying, validating and managing new suppliers while connecting suppliers and buyers. Third-party validators, such as Dun & Bradstreet, Ecovadis and RapidRatings, are providing verification and audit services for the network. 

Meanwhile, the platform is interoperable with other supplier procurement networks and connects with the cloud-based IBM Supply Chain Business Network. 

Vodafone has been actively exploring blockchain for business efficiency. It was part of Facebook’s Libra project but withdrew two months ago, saying it wanted to focus on its own inclusive payments business M-Pesa. 

Previously, the UK-based telco, along with Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, participated in several trials of Clear Technologies’ settlement and clearing blockchain. The tests focused on using blockchain for roaming payments and reconciliation. 

A few months ago, Vodafone UK used a blockchain augmented reality (AR) game to give away free iPhones. 

Coming back to supplier management and procurement, Accenture has developed the True Supplier Marketplace, which it is offering as a blockchain software-as-a-service. Accenture said the platform decreases supplier onboarding time to 4 days from 15 days.

Meanwhile, IBM has another platform focused on contractor management, which it developed with blockchain consulting firm IT People. Called IBM Contingent Labour, the platform tracks timesheets, purchase orders, and other data related to contractual work. 

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