Walmart and IBM teaming up | Blockchain Supply Chain | Blockchain Expo

By: Rebecca Clinton-Floyed

24, December, 2019


Blockchain -


Blockchain and supply chain management (Walmart and IBM teaming up)


Supply chain is an extremely complicated network involving multiple challenges that slows down the entire process. As supply chains span over several stages, there are end number of problems involved in the operation.


Some of the challenges that vitiates the entire supply chain include having too many business partners, poor vendor relationships, lack of transparency, working in silos, late payments between manufacturers and suppliers, extra expenses and delays in contractual agreements, meeting consumer expectations on time, involving more routes to the market, tracing products and parts, etc.


To solve these many problems at once need a miraculous formula, which is the blockchain technology.


Blockchain has the ability to empower enterprises to achieve real-time digital ledger of transactions and movements for all parties in their supply chain system. By implementing the blockchain technology, organisations can help companies save time, money, and effort on various different levels and transform the overall business functionality. Many supply chains are already using blockchain and most industry experts say that the technology can soon become a global supply chain operating system.


Here, we will look into the case of Walmart and IBM’s collaboration that can explain well how blockchain plays a crucial role in transforming supply chain.


In 2017, the news on Blockchain Food Safety Alliance was released wherein IBM, Walmart and Chinese retailer collaborated with Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies to apply blockchain technology for food traceability to support offline and online consumers, which would eventually improve food tracking and safety in China.


IBM’s Food Safety solution is built on its proprietary blockchain platform that uses the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger standard.


All four were determined to work with food supply chain providers and regulators to develop the standards, solutions, and partnerships to allow a broad-based food safety ecosystem in the country. IBM is investing heavily in food safety research through the Walmart Food Safety and Collaboration Centre and promoting food safety via its own supplier network and in partnership with working with JD, which has been described as “rich omni-channel” food supply chain management experience.


Both IBM and Walmart have been leveraging JD’s expertise in AI, blockchain, big data and other disruptive technologies to protect consumers. The American retail giant also developed a major online grocery delivery business in the country that is capable of transporting fresh produce from its shelves to homes within an hour.


Retail was not just one area where we can see Walmart and IBM teaming up over blockchain. They have also collaborated in 2019 with KPMG and Merck as part of the FDA’s programme to support US Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) that addresses requirements to identify, track, and trace prescription medicines and vaccines distributed across America.


FDA’s programme, which is aimed at helping the drug supply chain stakeholders in developing the electronic, interoperable system, will identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they are distributed within the US. Every organisation involved in this programme will create a shared permissioned blockchain network that would enable real-time monitoring of products. This proposed network would be helping in reducing the time required to track and trace the inventory, allow timely retrieval of reliable distribution information, boost accuracy of data shared among network members, and help determine the integrity of products in the distribution chain, including whether products are kept at the correct temperature.