Unifying the International, Domestic Sourcing Process

TradeStone Software debuts suite designed to offer new approach to collaborative sourcing

TradeStone Software debuts suite designed to offer new approach to collaborative sourcing

Gloucester, MA — April 6, 2005 — Solution provider TradeStone Software this week debuted its flagship suite designed to offer companies a single view and business process for international and domestic sourcing.

The TradeStone Suite is comprised of five modular applications, including Product, Sourcing, Logistics, Finance and Unified Order Management, and is powered by TradeStone's Unified Buying Engine, an underlying technology platform that was also announced this week. The provider also rolled out a set of tools designed to improve an organization's ability to tailor the suite to best meet its business needs.

Sue Welch, CEO of TradeStone, said that the provider developed its flagship suite based on a belief in a unified buying process, a philosophy dictating that domestic and international buying should be unified across an organization to speed innovation and boost profitability and market share. "Our solutions are designed to make sourcing product easily accomplished whether an organization is buying from a vendor across the world or across the street," Welch said.

The suite is powered by the provider's Unified Buying Engine, a technology platform and process engine that enables a unified way for retailers and merchants to view and interact with the buying process. Already in use by major retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters, the engine offers visibility into the supply chain by providing a single view of such operations as managing reporting and queries and alerting for exceptions. It also enables critical path management, best practice modeling, workflow and collaboration, according to the provider.

TradeStone said that the Unified Buying Engine is designed to work with an existing buying infrastructure that may include legacy systems such as a product data management (PDM) system, forecasting, order entry, warehousing or finance. Its design enables the engine to enhance existing systems with expanded functionality while converting disparate isles of information into collaborative nodes, resulting in a single, unified buying process, the provider said.

"TradeStone is one of the most important changes to the merchandising process we have ever implemented at the company," said Laura Weil, chief financial officer of American Eagle Outfitters. "TradeStone has streamlined our entire [purchase order] process, allows merchants to understand and analyze their businesses better, eliminates errors caused by mountains of Excel spreadsheets and ultimately reduces data entry and training hours."

The modular applications in TradeStone Suite, which can be purchased and used together or in a stand-alone manner to fill global sourcing gaps, include:

  • Product — Designed for all product planning, design, costing and allocation needs, Product is intended to allow for planning refinement and tracks assortments, line lists, flows to stores, product traits, bill of material, images and specifications.

  • Sourcing — Designed to read information from TradeStone tables and other product-focused systems in the organization to create requests for quotes (RFQs), Sourcing enables users to normalize information received in vendor offers, auto-calculate landed costs and create planning calendars. It invites vendors to interact and collaborate on the design and delivery of products while monitoring vendor performance relative to established tolerance and product expectation.

  • Unified Order Management — Designed to track finished goods, raw materials, blanket orders and aggregations by customer, channel or store type, this module enables quality assurance, vendor and channel management and planning. It also supports the creation of smaller, more frequent orders giving retailers the ability to respond to sales data and changing market conditions.

  • Logistics — Designed to track and manage containerization opportunity, shipment building, trace and track offers, as well as government-related processes including customs and duties.

  • Finance — Designed to focus on invoicing, costing, banking and other financial processes, Finance integrates with banks for letters of credit, purchase orders and open accounts; enables vendor self-invoicing; audits against tolerances and waiver collaboration and enables landed cost reconciliation.
TradeStone Tools, designed to work in conjunction with the suite to give users the ability to reflect the business processes, rules, logic, exceptions and unique nuances in the implemented solution, include the StepBuilder, CompositeBuilder and QueryBuilder.

TradeStone Suite modules are sold independently along with the Unified Buying Engine. They can be configured alone or as part of a broader solution. The optional Tools are sold separately.

The modularity of the TradeStone functionality supports a gradual and phased approach, allowing for a rapid deployment, usually 90-120 days, according to the solution provider.

Additional Articles of Interest

For more information on the current state of the sourcing market, see the article "The Analyst Corner: Sourcing" in the June/July 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.