TradeStone Offers Unified Buying Solution on Software-as-a-Service Model

Makes global sourcing and collaboration solution available to small, midsize businesses coordinating extended supply networks

Makes global sourcing and collaboration solution available to small, midsize businesses coordinating extended supply networks

Gloucester, MA  May 31, 2006  Solution provider TradeStone Software has debuted a services-based version of its popular TradeStone Suite designed for small to midsize retailers, product development companies and global suppliers, giving these smaller companies the opportunity to better coordinate their extended supply networks.

At the same time, TradeStone announced that IBC Worldwide, a small company providing custom manufacturing services to Fortune 100 companies, has selected the software as a service (Saas) version of the TradeStone Suite to unify the company's global buying process.

Lower Price Point

Overseas manufacturing has become an attractive alternative for smaller companies thanks to falling profit margins of domestically manufactured goods. However, the complexities of international trade remains a stumbling block, as it is difficult to collaborate with suppliers and customers who are often thousands of miles apart.

Offered via the SaaS delivery model, the TradeStone Suite is now available to retailers and their global suppliers at a lower price point and without the need for investment in the type of IT and software infrastructure necessary for "behind the firewall" software. TradeStone said that this will enable companies of all sizes to start using the solution.

"The new service offering extends our vision of unified, borderless commerce, connecting more retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and product development companies in a global network that spans geographies and technologies," said TradeStone Software CEO Sue Welch. "Our new services-based offering will help speed globalization, which is so closely linked to the development of emerging markets."

On the supplier side, TradeStone offers virtual product showroom and production collaboration capabilities that should let even small factories provide credible information flow and products to multi-billion dollar organizations. TradeStone said that the service model should enable these smaller companies to have the software up and running in as little as two weeks.

IBC Goes Online

For its part, IBC Worldwide is looking to the TradeStone Suite to help double the capacity of its product managers while also gaining a better audit trail of ongoing projects.

"For a small company with large, name-brand clients, the serviced-based TradeStone Suite provided us access to world-class software that would have been otherwise beyond our reach," said Pam Howard, CEO of IBC. "TradeStone is the only software application that can unify our purchasing process. Just a few weeks after signing on with TradeStone, we will be able to easily collaborate with both our clients and vendors on product design and prices, reducing the complexity and time of our entire process by half."

"Companies like IBC Worldwide are at the forefront of the next wave of borderless commerce-nimble companies with great ideas who are leveraging technology to better compete on the global landscape," said Welch. "As margins on domestically produced goods continue to decline, the ability to effectively source globally is critical to the success of companies like IBC Worldwide. Our goal at TradeStone has always been to enable companies of all sizes to unify their buying process and get the most out of global sourcing."

Doubling Productivity

Once the TradeStone Suite is up and running, IBC Worldwide is looking to achieve a vast increase in the number of projects handled by each project manager. The 10-person staff at the product development company currently has as many as 50 requests for quote in process at any given time, each with varying complexity. Howard aims to double that number by the fall without increasing the pressure on her staff by using the TradeStone Suite to enable closer collaboration with customers and suppliers.

Currently, information is sent via e-mails, calls and faxes, then entered manually into spreadsheets. Not only is the process cumbersome, but also requires a tremendous amount of redundancy, as numbers are entered multiple times into multiple systems. What's more, version tracking and audit trails are cumbersome to maintain and take project managers away from their core competency of creating innovative products for high-profile customers.

TradeStone said its suite eases that complexity by enabling customers and vendors to view the same information and operate from the same core base of knowledge. Once everyone is on the same page it is possible to get better products to market faster.

"We typically send product requests to several manufacturers in China, then work with them on designs," said Howard. "This includes going back and forth on such cost variables as materials, manufacturing and shipping. We then go through testing and revisions, all coordinated with our customers."

Howard added that the software as a service version of the TradeStone Suite enables IBC to gain the power of enterprise-class software at a much better price point, and she concluded, "We now have the tools to make our production faster and our lives easier."

The service-offering of the TradeStone Suite is available immediately, with prices ranging from $100 to $300 per user per month.

Additional Articles of Interest

 Stryker Instruments achieved success in inventory optimization by taking a no-frills approach and relying on collaborative supplier relations. Read more in "Keeping Supply Chain Transformation Simple," the Best Practices case study in the April/May 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

 As you read this, someone in your corporation is treading the ethical line because of expediency, undue pressure or because they don't know better. How can we protect our organizations from flawed reciprocal business awards, conflicts of interest and a myriad of other issues? Read more in "Ethics and Procurement: The Case for Full Disclosure," the Final Thoughts column in the April/May 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.