Trade Extensions – a new release and some great procurement stories they can’t tell us!

I had the opportunity to catch up last week with Gary Mansell, Chief Executive of Trade Extensions. (He was in a good mood as Norwich, his team, are looking good for promotion back to the Premiership - since then, they have thrashed local rivals Ipswich so he must be feeling even better...)  As we've sadi before, it is a fascinating company, being a mix of the Swedish mathematics professors who founded the firm and the highly commercial ex-Mars executives who are now shareholders and commercial heads of the business.

Trade Extensions is one of the global leaders in terms of the power and capability of their 'optimisation' platform, which supports clients in the most complex sourcing challenges (although  neither Garry nor I like the term 'optimisation').  They are seeing growing interest in these advanced techniques; from existing customers extending the reach of these processes into more categories; and new customers coming on board, on both sides of the Atlantic.

They've just launched an updated version of their platform; we'll be taking a more detailed look at it, but here is the headline:

Trade Extensions has unveiled a new release of its sourcing and optimisation platform making it more powerful and intuitive for simple and complex projects alike. The release – version 5.6 – includes fact sheets, project cloning, lot control from RFIs, new reporting functionality and improved scenario analysis. The improvements are part of Trade Extensions’ strategy to be best technically and have the most intuitive and easy to use sourcing platform.

One frustration they have, and I share, is that amongst their very global blue-chip customer base, there are some great success stories that they can't share for reasons of confidentiality. They really show how advanced sourcing tools like theirs are bringing stunning results (see also the BP story).  But that reluctance to go public is, in my opinion, indicative of the competitive advantage that some organisations are now obtaining from 'optimisation'; advantage that they are hesitant about disclosing.

Whether it is in the retail sector, transport and logistics (the early heartland for this technology), or in managing complex supply chains from print to raw materials, or pretty much anything that is complex, there is evidence that the best firms are moving further ahead of what we might call the 'slow adopters'.

I'm writing a couple of White Papers at the moment on this topic; the more I understand it, the more excited I get about what it means for procurement and what it can do for many organisations. So look out for me going on about this pretty regularly over the summer!

Last word from Garry:

The trend towards ‘self-service software’ is becoming more defined so while sourcing platforms need to perform from a technical level, they also need to be easy to use. Release 5.6 ensures we are leading the way in both of these key areas and our users see the benefits for themselves everyday.

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