WalMart Implements IBM’s Blockchain Technology
IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT), have teamed to address food safety and supply chain issues. IBM tested the blockchain-based platform for 18 months. Consequently, the platform is now live and global users including suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers can use it across the entire food ecosystem. Incidentally, it is the first time that a company used a blockchain network venture on such a large scale. Called the IBM Food Trust Platform, the company uses it exclusively to trace the supplies and deliveries of certain produce.
Walmart announced last month that is is implementing blockchain-based technology for tracking lettuce heads and spinach bags. The American retail giant is planning to implement the technology from IBM. Some of the companies that are already part of this IBM Food Trust Platform include the French retailer with more than 12,000 stores in 33 countries – Carrefour, Topco Associates, and Wakefern. Similarly, cooperatives representing around 15,000 stores on a global level are also lining up to implement the system. Other suppliers joining IBM’s blockchain include suppliers Dennick Fruit Source, BeefChain, and Smithfield. Multiple companies participating in the platform initiative include Kroger, Tyson Foods, Nestle, Unilever, and Kroger.
Blockchain enthusiasts believe that these new applications of the technology will reduce use criticisms of the cutting-edge technology. According to the IBM Global Industries, Platforms, and Blockchain senior vice president, Bridget Van Kralingen, “The currency of trust today is transparency and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared.”
Walmart Moves to a Digital Ledger
At present, the manual processes used by the suppliers in the food industry are inefficient. With the use of distributed ledger technology, suppliers can provide updated information to the retailers in real-time. The system also facilitates tracing products from farms to the retailers and vice-versa.
Observers believe the move is in direct response to and incident this Spring. Dozens of WalMart customers got sick after consuming contaminated romaine lettuce. The retailer did clear off all the traces of the leaves from its shelves to make sure the incidence does not repeat again. However, the American retail giant went a step ahead and decided to try out a blockchain-based project from IBM. This new system will keep track of lettuce heads and spinach bags for the company.
Finally, reports suggest that by next year, around 100 farms supplying leafy green vegetables to Walmart will be using IBM’s blockchain database.