Trust Your Supplier: a case study in faster, more secure vendor onboarding through blockchain

While supplier management has garnered particular attention in recent weeks thanks to COVID-19-related demand surges, manufacturing disruptions and quality concerns, vetting and signing news suppliers has long been a challenge. The whole process is slow, costly, and fraught with risks and errors. It creates friction and delay between buyers and sellers.

Chainyard and IBM Blockchain set out to streamline that process with Trust Your Supplier, a network built on Hyperledger Fabric, an open source enterprise blockchain platform. The solution went live in November, 2019, and is gaining steam quickly as a new model for using blockchain as a trust platform for sharing business information securely and efficiently.

Trust Your Supplier creates a unique “digital passport” for each supplier’s identity on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain. This ID can be shared with any permissioned buyer on the network to save time validating and onboarding a new supplier. Several third-party verifiers are on the network, including Dun & Bradstreet for business data, EcoVadis for sustainability, and RapidRatings for financial risk. These third parties can provide further audit or verification services to create an even more comprehensive picture of any vendor. As a result, buyers and sellers can save time and money and keep their supply chains humming by accessing a single repository with verified accurate data.

To date, 25 major corporate members from Anheuser-Bush InBev to UPS have joined the network. Members cover many major industries including aerospace, consumer packaged goods, electronics, logistics, pharma, tech, and telecom. All told, the members’ suppliers number in the hundreds of thousands. And they’re all committed to modernizing their procurement with the new system. Initial results show:

  • Vendor onboarding cycle time cut from an average of 60 days to 3 days
  • For buyers: 50% less cost to verify and maintain a supplier’s information
  • For sellers: much faster time to first sale

The Hyperledger team has worked closely with Chainyard and IBM Blockchain on a detailed case study about developing and rolling out this network, from concept to PoC to full production deployment. The case study also offers details on the long-term goals of the network and how it could support other key business processes.