Westpac looks to automate trade with AI, IoT and blockchain

The Westpac Institutional Bank Trade Finance team has successfully integrated Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain into a single Proof of Concept (POC).

In what is claimed to be a global first, Westpac’s POC brings together these technologies to successfully digitise key areas of inventory management, procurement and trade in a way that could transform businesses globally.

The POC addresses key business pain points: demand and price prediction, inventory management, forecasting and tracking. It delivers a solution to optimise procurement value, and securely automates and digitises old manual procurement and payments processes.

What each emergent technology does:

  • Internet of Things tracks stock levels and provides real time information
  • Data analytics and artificial intelligence work together to predict demand and price levels
  • Blockchain creates smart contracts and executes orders in a fully digital and secure fashion

Westpac says it offers a glimpse into the future where a business can accurately predict the demand for products, optimise stock levels, identify the best time and place to buy, and fulfil the procurement and settlement in a completely digital way.

Westpac initiated the POC and collaborated with fast-growing reinforcing steel supplier Ausreo and Infosys, a global digital transformation company. The purchase system was created on R3 Corda Blockchain technology.

Westpac customers IVE and Iluka also provided significant insights during development on how the application could apply to other industries.

Westpac has released a White Paper providing detail on how the project was created, the problems it solves and what each technology brings to the solution.

Didier Van Not, General Manager and Head of Westpac Corporate and Institutional Bank said:

“Providing our customers with the ability to maximise their working capital cycles and ensure the optimal levels of funding unleashes huge potential.”

“The benefits extend to banking by providing insight into the entire value chain.”

Darren Dunkley, the CFO for IVE Group said: “The project demonstrates a clear pathway on how it is possible to tie together much talked technologies for commercial outcomes. It is vital to stay abreast and at the forefront of any new technologies that could impact us as well as our customers. The application prototype in the Ausreo model is absolutely transferable to IVE’s inventory order process.”

Tom Plant, Treasury Manager Iluka Resources said: “We are looking to harness new technology such as Blockchain and machine learning to improve efficiency. Iluka will use our learnings from our involvement in this project to determine how we might use the technology in the future.”

Westpac’s Didier Van Not stressed this was a Proof of Concept and not something ready for market, but congratulated his Trade Finance Team on the innovative achievement and its potential.

“This is a glimpse into a world where mundane manual tasks will be automated and machines will support better decision-making.”

“Imagining a world where businesses can automate the key decision making processes through smart technology is no longer in the realms of science fiction – it is here today.”

Download the Westpac White Paper HERE