IBM Rapid Supplier Connect to help in-need health care providers source PPE

As part of IBM's approach to combatting the coronavirus, the company has announced the launch of IBM Rapid Supplier Connect.

Designed to help government agencies and health care organizations alike, this blockchain-based network will help groups identify non-traditional suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE).

With health care and frontline workers experiencing the effect of disrupted supply chains, many businesses have pivoted their assembly lines to mass-produce essential PPE. For organizations in need of PPE supplies, finding these non-traditional suppliers can present a unique problem.

Fortunately, IBM Rapid Supplier Connect can help organizations source PPE and identify existing supplies that may be going unused, allowing them to redistribute these if needed.

Buyers who access the network will benefit from using suppliers outside of their traditional supply chain and will also have access to near-real-time inventory information. Meanwhile, suppliers will benefit from having access to important user feedback and the ability to manage inventory availability.

To launch this much-needed tool, IBM employed the Trust Your Supplier blockchain-based identity platform, built by Chainyard, for qualification and identification. It also leverages its existing Sterling Supply Chain Suite and Inventory Visibility microservice. Meanwhile, Project N95 will assist with supplier vetting, and companies like Dun & Bradstreet, KYC SiteScan, and RapidRatings will contribute tools related to buyer verification, firmographic data, and supplier risk and viability scores.

The network’s current members include organizations such as Northwell Health, which is recognized as New York's largest health care provider, and The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation, which is in the midst of onboarding over 200 American suppliers from its database of 3,000 global community members.

"Northwell Health has had adequate supplies to protect patients and our staff during the increase in New York COVID-19 patient cases," shared Phyllis McCready, VP 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."

Rapid Supplier Connect will be available to qualified buyers and suppliers in the U.S. and Canada at no cost until Aug. 31, 2020. Joining the network is expected to take a mere 30 minutes, and IBM's operational support center will provide technical support.