Commodity markets are volatile, with constantly shifting political landscapes, disruptive weather patterns, and new fads driving consumer demand. Commodity trading companies do not have the luxury of waiting days, or sometimes even hours, for information to move through the value chain. They need to react now to capitalize on developing opportunities and mitigate risk and losses when things go bad. However, the reality is that the information flow is neither timely nor smooth. Despite sophisticated systems in place, supply chains are often inefficient because companies, their suppliers, and their customers are not seamlessly connected. They use different, disconnected systems and address many issues using manual processes. Communication still requires multiple resources and exchanges of emails, calls and faxes.
In addition, each participant in the supply chain is using their data – separate from other entities – and their systems – disconnected from trading partners – creating a snapshot of truth for their company that may not match the information their trading partners are using. Parties are making decisions using different information sets, a situation that is often inefficient for all participants.
Changing market models are also driving commodity companies to think differently. With demand for their storage, capital, price discovery and management decreasing, the need to build supplier and customer loyalty early is increasing.End-to-end collaboration provides tremendous benefits to every participant in the supply chain, from suppliers to traders to customers, increasing efficiency, deepening relationships and reinforcing loyalty.
- Increased market efficiency. Automated collaboration reduces the time-to-market of price discovery. It allows for improved intelligence capabilities via collection, analysis, calculation and publishing of price information and reduces the inherent inefficiencies from dealing with large, more complex pricing structures.
- Increased corporate efficiency. Collaboration across the value chain reduces overhead devoted to chasing down information, enabling companies to reallocate support staff to higher value activities to increase customer service and supplier support. Business partners get more autonomy to update, upload or view documents and transaction history (orders and balances) and conduct negotiations online, making it easier for them to do business with you.
- Decreased costs of information sharing. By automating most of the manual intervention required in communications from suppliers to customers, companies reduce both the cost and the latency of information sharing.
- Increased visibility and communication. Historically, companies, their customers and their buyers would each view data in their own business applications – which were out of sync most of the times. With end-to-end collaboration, all parties have a single, shared view of data, improving overall supply chain performance and inter-company interactions.
- Improved compliance controls. Extended automation of manual tasks creates a comprehensive audit trail, providing detailed analysis of available data and enabling more informed decisions when selecting counterparties.
- Increased service levels. Company resources are no longer wasted on multiple emails and phone calls with suppliers and customers. Automatic updates provide real-time views of contracts, PO status, payments, tickets, etc.
Eka Connect is a new collaboration solution that helps commodity companies increase visibility, improve communication and grow overall supply chain efficiency by connecting business partners across the supply chain – from suppliers to customers. The Eka Connect Solution suite captures, consolidates, and simplifies complex data on a single platform, providing one, accurate end-to-end integrated view to help everyone grow their business.