The fact-sheet based RFX module is not the only improvement that Trade Extensions has made since it last traded up its UI and improved its optimization and reporting capabilities. Since Trade Extensions was last covered on Sourcing Innovation, it has made a number of significant improvements to its platform, including:
- RFI-driven supplier data requests
- multiple dimension ranking in e-Negotiation
- integration with Google Earth
- more cost support and new incumbent rules in optimization
- conversion of all reports to OLAP reports and implementation of a new n-way comparison report
RFI-driven supplier data requests
In the Trade Extensions platform, supplier data collection can be configured to be dependent on supplier responses. If a supplier indicates that they don’t have a certain capability (or don’t wish to bid on particular item or category), then they don’t see the associated fact sheets (which they can download as an Excel Spreadsheet if they like). Also, if they indicate they do perform a certain function, the RFI can be configured to request additional information.
Multiple dimension ranking in e-Negotiation
Most auction platforms rank by bid, volume, or another relevant factor to the buyer. The Trade Extensions platform can be configured to rank (and report on) bids on multiple dimensions, such as supplier and location or supplier and quality. This makes it easy to quickly see how a bid stacks up against multiple relevant factors.
Integration with Google Earth
Often times when I hear about integration with Google Maps or Earth I say “that’s nice” because it usually doesn’t add much value. But the TE implementation actually makes Google Earth useful. Not only can you quickly see the lanes, relative volumes [by line thickness], and carrier distribution [by line colour] at different scales, but, with a click, you can pop up a box that provides the full details of what is flowing down the lane (products, volume, from, to, frequency, total weight, etc.). A warehouse manager can quickly zoom into her facilities and see what is coming and when. It can take a scenario with thousands of allocations and make the information quickly comprehensible.
More cost support and new incumbent rules in optimization
Relative and absolute fixed, on-, cost support has been greatly improved in the application. A buyer can define a cost on supplier selection, on a certain volume threshold, on a specified property, etc. This allows for incredibly detailed and accurate costing formulas to be created. Trade Extensions has also added four new incumbent rules to the optimization solution, two new allocation and two new keepers. The user can now choose to allocate an incumbent volume at least equal to what they have now, or to the current percentage of volume, or to incumbent proportions and allow redistribution between incumbents, or between winners in incumbent proportions.
Conversion of all reports to OLAP reports and implementation of a new n-way comparison report
When Trade Extensions last traded up their UI, they had just implemented their new OLAP reporting feature and were in the process of converting their existing reports. Now that the OLAP reporting feature has been fully implemented, all of the reports have been converted and the new report creation facility is complete, allowing users to define their own OLAP reports on the dimensions of their choosing. Also, the user can now create arbitrary n-way comparison reports and “glue” reports together from existing report definitions.
And Trade Extensions has no intention of slowing down. In addition to a commitment improve SIM/SPM/SRM, Trade Extensions is also working on:
- auctions – simplifying them for low-end spot buys
- e-Negotiation – instant messaging, better charting, etc.
- enterprise features – search across projects, track cross-project metrics, integrated BI
- roles – admin, project manager, buyer, viewer, etc.
- new project types – to simplify auction setup
- on-demand training – the wiki is under constant development and walkthrough videos will soon be available
It should be an exciting year for this European company that has just started to gain traction in North America (where they opened a new office last year).