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Monday
Sep162013

Trade Extensions sponsors leading Constraint Programming conference

Trade Extensions is sponsoring CP 2013 - The 19th International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming.

The conference which opened today is taking place in Uppsala, Sweden untill 20 September and is the most established in its field and covers all aspects of computing with constraints.

International experts will present the latest research and, in addition to more theoretical developments, there are many practical uses of how the technology can be used by industry and society in general, for example reducing waste when cutting sheet metal, identifying the optimum allocation of agricultural land and balancing bike sharing systems.

Trade Extensions uses constraint programming and optimisation to run complex sourcing projects but it also applies the technology to projects that go Beyond SourcingTM such as asset optimisation, production planning, supply chains design and risk management.

Trade Extensions, founder and chairman, Arne Andersson said,

We are constantly developing our own optimisation technology and it is important for us to support state-of-the art research in the field.  Constraint programming and optimisation is very powerful and useful technology and in the coming years will change the way companies and organisations make decisions.

 

Conference website:  http://cp2013.a4cp.org/

Thursday
Sep122013

Customer governance workshops will shape development

Trade Extensions is launching a customer governance programme to allow customers to share experience and best practice with other users while working with Trade Extensions to shape the development of its sourcing platform.

The initiative will be rolled out globally through a series of regional workshops with the first meeting taking place in Sweden on 19th September.  Many top Swedish companies, who are household names globally and Trade Extensions customers, will be attending the inaugural meeting near Stockholm.  Further workshops in Europe and North America will take place in the coming months.

The regional focus of the workshops is key to the initiative because it allows customers to address challenges that may only be relevant to specific regions and ways of working.

Trade Extensions, CEO, Garry Mansell said,

It’s important for us to create an environment for our customers to work comfortably and productively together. People prefer working in their first language which is why our platform can be used in ten languages and we’re carrying this approach through to our customer governance workshops.

As customers begin to use the platform for projects that go Beyond SourcingTM there are limitless possibilities as to how it can be used to optimise day-to-day business operations. Customers are already using the platform for asset optimisation, production planning, supply chains design and risk management.  These are the types of projects that customers will be able to discuss during the workshops while working together with Trade Extensions to identify additional applications and developments for the platform. 

Friday
Aug092013

Optimisation and automation key for efficient supply chains

The recent Aberdeen Group report ‘CSCO Priorities under Globalization: Cross Border Transportation Strategies’ provides some interesting insight into how ‘Best-in-Class’ companies are managing the complexity and challenges presented by modern global supply chains.  We’ve pulled out some of what we think are some the most interesting observations but the complete report can be downloaded from the Aberdeen Group website - here

The report surveyed 163 companies from across the globe and the key pressures identified in terms of global supply chains were related to cost:  70% identified the volatility of fuel costs and/ or fuel cost surcharges and 54% cited increasing awareness of the cost and service impact of transportation as the key pressure.  

Cost will always be significant factor but alongside cost concerns the respondents identified service pressures as key and the report is unequivocal in its conclusion that it is vital to balance cost and service levels:  “Best-in-Class shippers leverage transportation spend management solutions with process improvements to keep costs under control while maintaining service levels.”  Identifying the most appropriate solution taking into account various constraints is what optimisation is all about which is why it is so effective in achieving this balance.

Opportunity to optimise

The best-in-class companies surveyed in the report are all implementing strategies to automate and optimise the transportation process but in overall terms they are still very much in the minority.  48% of best in class companies are optimising and automating from initial sourcing through to carrier selection but this suggests that approximately 90% of companies generally are not.  Some of the techniques and technologies are quite new so maybe this shouldn’t be that surprising but there is clearly a massive opportunity for all companies to improve their transportation strategies by adopting some of these techniques – especially as Aberdeen Group report that it is possible to reduce freight rates by 33%.

Collaboration is key 

The report states 75% of respondents cite internal and external collaboration as integral to optimising the supply chain.  And while all companies are introducing technology to improve collaboration, the report identifies how “the Best-in-Class are doing a superior job, primarily in the area of tendering bids and doing electronic assessments or allocations with their carriers.” 

Increasing capability 

Practices such as multi-round bidding, tracking total freight cost and incremental bidding are successfully employed by best in class companies and what is interesting is how adoption of these practices has increased.  In an earlier Aberdeen Group report (Transportation Procure to Pay, February 2012) the same techniques are identified and the table below shows how uptake has increased in 18 months between the two reports. 

The report concludes by reiterating the global nature of supply chains (85% of respondents have logistics operations that cross borders) and how companies can use automation and optimisation to balance cost and service levels.  It’s an interesting report and shows how the technology and techniques available today will help companies manage the complexity within modern supply chains and if implemented effectively will increase efficiency and deliver cost savings.

Download the Aberdeen Group report here

Friday
Jul192013

70% BIGGER 

We have had a very good first half of the year and increased revenue for the first six months by 70% compared to the same period in 2012.

Growth in Europe was particularly strong thanks largely to some big new customers for online sourcing projects.  We are also carrying out more work with existing customers and a number are moving Beyond Sourcing™ and using the platform’s data handling and optimisation capabilities for some really interesting projects.

Trade Extensions, CEO, Garry Mansell said, “Companies generally start with e-sourcing projects before progressing to larger, more complex e-sourcing opportunities using huge data sets from multiple sources. As they become more experienced they start thinking about Beyond Sourcing™ projects and identify other areas that can gain from the platform’s flexibility, data handling and optimisation capabilities. This has resulted in us developing many applications based on our platform in the last year that are in daily use in some of the biggest companies in the world.”

The full press release is on the main company website – here.

Friday
Jul122013

Optimisation - the perfect technology for complex sourcing

In the latest issue of Analytics Magazine, Trade Extensions, founder and chairman, Arne Andersson looks at how optimisation is being used in complex sourcing.  He gives an overview of how it use has developed and looks at some examples of projects that go Beyond SourcingTM into areas such as asset management.  He also discusses how optimsation helps manage complexity and outlines some of the more technical challenges such as handling numerical precision. 

The full article is in the July/ August issue of Analytics Magazine – here.

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