IBM launches blockchain-based supply chain service with AI, IoT integration

IBM this week launched a new supply chain service based on its blockchain platform and open-source software from recently-acquired Red Hat that allows developers and third-party apps to integrate legacy corporate data systems onto a distributed ledger.

Through the use of open APIs, the new Sterling Supply Chain Suite allows distributors, manufacturers and retailers to integrate their own data and networks – as well as those of their suppliers – onto a Hyperledger-based blockchain to track and trace products and parts. Among the data that can be integrated are IoT sensor systems for real-time shipment position location.

“This is the first move from IBM in what we anticipate to be a significant investment in the reinvention of supply chains by global organizations in the coming decades,” an IBM spokesperson said via email.

Through APIs, the IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite ties to legacy infrastructure such as Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), ERP systems, Order Management Systems  and commerce applications.

IBM blockchain supply chain sterling IBM

The IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suites stack of applications enabled by blockchain and AI.

Because the new suite falls under the “Sterling” Order Management (SOM) brand name, which IBM acquired from AT&T in 2010, it already has an existing user base of more than 7,000 customers who have an additional 500,000 trading partners, according to Inhi Cho Suh, general manager of IBM’s Watson Customer Engagement business unit.

“The complex, global nature of our omni-channel operations presents a significant supply chain challenge that could be turned into a business opportunity if the right technology is applied,” said Juan Andres Pro Dios, CIO of El Corte Ingles, Europe’s largest department store conglomerate. “The IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite provides open development capabilities that let us quickly tailor solutions to meet our unique business needs. This allows us to embrace operational complexity while optimizing … performance and improving omni-channel customer experiences.”

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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