In this new installment of our limited series revealing more of what we do at TraceGains, we chat with Principal Product Manager John Thorpe.
TraceGains: Why is TraceGains Network not ‘just’ a platform but also an ecosystem?
John Thorpe: TraceGains is a platform because we have an integrated set of apps users can leverage to fulfill several diverse needs, and all those apps tie into each other. It’s also an ecosystem because we have a network, and everything on our network — the records, the information, the people — are living and breathing digital copies of what’s happening in the real world.
So, when suppliers update their ingredients, everyone they’ve connected with on our network can also have their shared data automatically updated if the supplier chooses to enable this. When a supply chain partner adds something to the marketplace, you’ll see the newest ingredients, the most current data about those ingredients, and the latest information about those suppliers, again, based on the privacy and sharing settings a supplier chooses to enable.
We’re more than a platform because we’re more than just data input and organization. TraceGains is a place where companies collaborate, internally or externally, on data that’s living, updated, and data that reflects the real-world supply chain.
TG: So, if companies connect via TraceGains Network, what is a benefit beyond data, document, and information sharing?
JT: We give companies a market-defining grasp of their supply chain risk through augmented data. And we don’t stop there: We offer an information-rich marketplace to provide supply chain alternatives during disruptive events.
On TraceGains, records related to your supply chain (e.g., suppliers, items, specifications, and formulas) are all supplemented with network data that provides users with a 360-degree understanding of risk that helps them make better decisions proactively and within workflows. For example, internal company data — such as document request fulfillment performance and scorecards — can be combined with shared supplier data from TraceGains Network and third-party data to provide network-enabled decision-making.
Global risk alerts from more than 3,000 sources tie directly into your items and suppliers, for example, FDA inspection results and warning letters for supplier locations. In addition, we’re continually adding third-party data partners to our custom-built taxonomy and providing companies with advanced tools to filter data to ensure content is relevant and actionable.
All of this — the data your suppliers provide, your suppliers’ performance, and third-party information about suppliers, their ingredients, and their associated risks — comes together in a single picture on the TraceGains platform, and that can only happen in an ecosystem.
Then, if you run into supply chain disruptions, TraceGains’ marketplace offers a robust sourcing tool to engage quickly with new suppliers and review relevant documentation on their items and locations. Many of our users leverage TraceGains’ integrated workflows to facilitate faster sourcing with collaboration between procurement, quality, and R&D departments.
TG: That sounds huge. How can the TraceGains platform help small businesses?
JT: The critical thing that TraceGains offers to a small business is that you can get a lot of the tools and functionality that large companies spend millions of dollars on, on a single platform. And it’s something that’s pre-built for you, both concerning features and functionality, in addition to industry expectations and standards.
Specifically, for example, you can manage documents for all your customers on a single platform, whether they’re on TraceGains Network or not. And you can handle any updates for any of your locations or items on the TraceGains platform. You can send all of that out immediately when you update it to any customer. And everyone internal to the business who needs to see the information can reference those updates, documents, items, and locations on a single platform. That all then ties into our marketplace.
So, we’re combining efficient operations management and data extraction, so you can leverage it into a marketplace to expand your business. Again, if you don’t have millions of dollars to build an internal marketplace, as a small to medium-sized business, you can use TraceGains. You can build out your catalog, leverage the data you update daily, and reach big customers worldwide who might need a new or innovative ingredient you’re building out. Then, you can show all that in the marketplace through showcases and start to express your brand. So, as a small business, you can manage your operations and grow your business by simultaneously leveraging the TraceGains platform and ecosystem.
Last, we’re trying to change how collaboration occurs. A lot of times, collaborations are just a chain of discombobulated e-mail exchanges. So we’re introducing a concept we call “Workspaces,” where you can work in a shared space with your manufacturing partners and suppliers to co-innovate and collaborate on anything, and where you can easily capture and store documents and conversations.
We’re giving big company tools to any company of any size in the industry.