The amount and quality of data in requests for information from the supply chain are valuable in developing and finishing contracts. One supplier of “RFx” software (e.g., RFP, RFQ, etc), Trade Extensions, has updated its program for expanded sourcing flexibility and data generation.
The company’s latest release, called 5.14, gives users the ability to customize data collection, analyze a range of information, and ultimately select the best suppliers based on their ability to deliver services and value.
“Our optimizing capability makes us special,” says Joe Critchley, vice president of sales and business development for the company, which is based in Uppsala, Sweden, but has U.S. headquarters in Houston and European headquarters in Swaffham, U.K.
Critchley explains that Trade Extensions’ software can collate data from thousands of bidders. The program analyzes suppliers’ data according to parameters established by the user, and selects bidders that best meet those criteria.
The software does this using algorithms, which are at the heart of its capabilities. In fact, a mathematician at Uppsala University who specialized in these predictive calculations formed Trade Extensions in 2000.
Critchley says the software displays data tables at the top of a screen and interactive charts at the bottom. The data tables and charts can be split up and reviewed by users anyway they choose — for example, to evaluate a bidder’s facilities and those of a third party it works with. Bar charts, pie charts, and other graphs can be created and positioned next to each other to see what a decision on a supplier might mean for business.
“A user can build as many charts as he wants, though after five or six it might be visual clutter,” he remarks.
Data is continually updated, and changes are immediately reflected in every chart. Critchley says 300,000 rules within the charts can be modified at the same time to reflect new data.
All of these capabilities facilitate decision-making, Critchley says, even when communicating across a team and convincing a team member of a particular choice.
The software is for two types of organizations in particular: large consultants that run Trade Extensions on behalf of clients, and major corporate end-users. Trade Extensions will occasionally use the software to manage client projects.