May 17, 2020

IBM launches new Supplier Connection portal

Supply Chain Digital
supply chain visibility
Supply Chain
Supply Chain
Freddie Pierce
2 min
Large and small companies can connect on IBM’s Supplier Connection, which should add collaboration to the global supply chain
Before you read this, check out this story in November's issue of Supply Chain Digital. Trust us, it's way cooler! What if some of the largest...

Before you read this, check out this story in November's issue of Supply Chain Digital. Trust us, it's way cooler!

What if some of the largest companies in the world banded together to help smaller suppliers gain a foothold in the marketplace?

That’s exactly what IBM is trying to find out, as the information technology giant is putting together what it calls Supplier Connection, a B2B portal that connects large firms with small businesses.

“There’s plenty of evidence that small businesses drive the economy and create jobs,” Linda Cantwell, Vice President of Global Procurement Shared Services at IBM says.


“Large companies like IBM need to be more aggressive to help small businesses win contracts from larger businesses, and this is a fantastic opportunity for them to do just that.”

This initiative provides small companies with a standardized and streamlined way to register basic information, share business practices and potentially connect with both large and small businesses to enhance their opportunity for growth.

In turn, large companies are now able to quickly find registered suppliers and communicate and forge stronger relationships with new and existing suppliers.

“Large firms really struggle to get connected with small businesses that they sometimes should be working with,” Cantwell explains. “Now, they can have visibility to other small businesses on this site to promote economic development for both parties.”

Cantwell and IBM have already recruited nine large businesses to join the Supplier Connection initiative. Joining IBM are AT&T, Bank of America, Citigroup, UPS, Pfizer, Caterpillar, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Dell.

Supplier Connection is hoping to have 100 large firms participating in two years, which will help drive the number of small businesses that join the supply chain portal. The company already has 700 small companies engaging in the supply chain portal.

The success of Supplier Connection won’t be solely determined by the number of participants, however.

“We’re considering job growth to be our success factor, not the number of suppliers or large firms that join,” Cantwell says.

In short, Supplier Connection is an intriguing supply chain portal that offers benefits to huge corporations and small businesses alike, and is something that the innovative minds at IBM hope will spur economic development.

“We took an innovative, high-tech approach to building a foundation that promotes small and large business growth,” Cantwell says. “As a large enterprise, we can make a difference in the potential growth of the economy by helping out small businesses.”

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Jun 16, 2021

EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs

3 min
Supply chains embroiled in Airbus-Boeing dispute will no longer be impacted by $11.5bn tariffs imposed on food and beverage, aircraft and tobacco

The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years. 

It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC. 

The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn. 

In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products. 

Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers  

  • The dispute began in 2004
  • Tariffs suspended for 5 years 
  • $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
  • $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date 
  • 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended

Both sides welcome end to tariffs 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.

“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.

Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”. 

The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."

This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.

Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”

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