Written by: Mike Edmunds
Posted on: 13/12/23
The Year in Review
2023 has been a busy, productive, and rewarding year for us. It’s now the time to reflect on how far we’ve come, and where we planned to be this time last year.
What did we set out to do?
ESG has naturally formed part of our offering this year as we continue to recognise that it is an important aspect and driver for our customers – we wanted to add more value to our product in this area to try and meet some of the emerging demands from the market. We also wanted to improve the user’s experience of our software, and continue to develop so that we remain at the fore-front of technology in our sector.
This year, we’ve expanded our research into ESG to better understand our customers needs and how we can better help them achieve the targets and goals they (and we) are so passionate about. ESG has been a fixture in our offering for a while now, and it’s clear to see that the momentum of the movement is not really momentum at all – we are experiencing the new reality of procurement, the supply chain landscape, and compliance.
We chose to include ESG in many of our events this year, with it forming the base theme of our User Group. Featuring keynote speaker Andy Dewis, Founder and CEO of Pineapple Sustainable Partnerships, his speech at the event highlighted the global shift towards sustainability and how it is transforming consumer preferences and market dynamics. It was heartening to be on the same page. It gave me some more resolve, which is never a bad thing.
We’ve worked really hard this year, and are seeing some recognition for that. We’ve been included in Forrester’s research, resulting in recognition in The Environmental Sustainability Procurement Technology Landscape, Q3 2023 report.
Another interaction with Forrester was our webinar featuring Senior Analyst Jeffrey Rajamani. The 45-minute-long webinar – which is available to view on replay for free, by the way – touched upon the finer details of how to source and sustain an ethical supply chain. It’s the second webinar we’ve done featuring Forrester, and it was a resounding success, going off without a hitch thanks to the diligence of the team involved.
Internally, we’ve commenced our journey to becoming a more sustainable organisation at our Teesside Headquarters. It seems only right, given our product’s capabilities, that we step up, too. We’ve introduced new policies and aims and started tracking utilities such as our gas and electric usage, and fought over the air conditioning versus opening the window in the office. Our sacrifices, where necessary, were not made in vain. We were awarded our Green Mark Level One certification this year, and have no intention of stopping there.
Truly, our customers are the heart of everything we do here at Trade Interchange. It is them we centre our offering around, and it is them who we most hope to please and impress with our continuing developments.
We’ve welcomed some new customers this year, which is always a pleasure to do. To grow is a privilege, and it’s never guaranteed, no matter how hard you might work. It can feel as much like luck as it does the culmination of strategy.
We’ve also focussed on our existing community of users. Our User Group focuses on nothing BUT our customers, and it’s always valuable to gather together in one room to talk about our collective experiences with the product.
It was very special, therefore, to be captive in the audience of one of our customers, with Head of Sourcing at Ramsay Health Care UK, Naomi Guyett, treating us to an insider’s look at how ARCUS® has streamlined their Source-to-Contract processes.
The work didn’t stop when everyone went home. The implementation team here at headquarters have worked hard in order to deliver better service for our customers old and new. Their dedication resulted in me being able to boast that our new implementation window (as in, the amount of time it takes to fully adopt our system and learn the basics) is down to a cool 9 weeks from 12. It’s been a welcome change, both for the team and for customers – 3 of whom have already benefitted from the smaller window.
That’s not the only way in which we’ve been trying to improve the user experience. More customers and more implementations means less time to go around for everyone involved – and keeping up with demand has been a genuine concern of mine as our ambitions and client roster has grown. The solution developed by the implementation team was to begin producing and then introducing tailor-made training videos, which have been very successful so far in saving such a precious resource as time.
“We’ve been working with Trade Interchange for less than a year, but in that time we’ve onboarded our suppliers into Supplier Information Management (SIM), captured a lot more information about them in a structured way, developed the RFX tools and run a lot of tenders which enabled us to work more closely with our customers.
The Trade Interchange team have been fantastic in helping us through this – they’ve held our hands all the way and moved at the speed that we want to move at, so that we’ve been able to on-board in the right way and in a timely manner.”
Developments and Smart Technology
I’m really proud of how far our product has come in terms of development, and this year is no exception. Our product has always been developed in-house by local talented developers, and their dedication pays off in the delivery of a great product.
We’ve unveiled some changes coming to ARCUS® over the next few months. Those of you who attended our User Group will already be aware, and while it’s still early stages, I’m so pleased with how things are progressing. In the meantime, our training videos are helping to make it so that our user community can understand the software better, meaning they can get more value from the system and have an overall more positive experience working with us.
Another thing I’m very excited about the incredible amount of work put into delivering more API connections. Our two newest APIs deliver value across both sustainability and product information, connecting with Brakes and EcoVadis, respectively.
By extending our integration with Science-Based Targets and Dun & Bradstreet, this is another way we’ve worked towards this year’s targets of polishing our offering to really dig deeper into centralising ESG throughout our product. This development is definitely an exciting one, and it’s all to the benefit of our user community.
Overall, this has felt like a year of new and old. New developments, new customers, new faces around the office and new directions moving forward. Opportunities? Perhaps. But it is the grounding comfort of the old – customers who have been with us since 2001, and experienced and fearless leaders in the business, who have kept us steady as we forge into innovation.
Here’s hoping that’s one trend which will continue well into 2024.