Trading Grid to Accelerate Cross-Enterprise Business Processes

GE spinoff company aims to provide customers a secure platform for trading messages with their customers and/or suppliers.

Global eXchange Services Inc. (GXS), a Gaithersburg, Md., company that was formerly part of General Electric Co., has launched Trading Grid, a real-time platform developed exclusively to enable and streamline cross-enterprise business processes. Serving over 30,000 businesses worldwide, Trading Grid, announced Sept. 28, offers capabilities that are said to ensure synchronized product and price information, optimize inventory levels and demand forecasts, speed the overall execution of supply chains, and ultimately provide end-to-end business process visibility.

Successful integration of business-to-business (B2B) inetworks has traditionally been a challenge. As noted by Benoit Lheureux, a research analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc., during a recent industry conference presentation, “Most B2B trading partner interactions are still rather simple (for example, simply exchanging electronic documents), but many interactions are becomingly increasingly sophisticated (such as including data transformation, validation and notification services). Although more complex B2B interactions are useful and desirable, they can't be implemented without first having a basic B2B infrastructure,” said Lheureux. “Most trading communities still don't have more than 10 percent of their trading partners connected electronically, which undermines the potential for implementing higher-value services such as data validation and notification services.”

To address these barriers, GXS says it designed and developed Trading Grid to combine the reliability and best practices of its Value-Added Networks (VANs) with the speed and agility of the Internet. While VANs primarily move data, Trading Grid provides capabilities that get more out of the data and manage an overall business process. Trading Grid includes the following components that accelerate this new business process networking capability:

• Global messaging services that provide real-time information flow among partners anywhere in the world

• Access methods that simplify business enablement, from multi-lingual Web-based access options to direct enterprise resource planning system integration via Web Services adapters

• Central data stores to virtually and securely aggregate high-volumes of trading community data

• Hosted Trading Grid intelligence services to provide business insight into processes, performance and exceptions

• Hosted Trading Grid application services to manage and orchestrate specific cross-enterprise business processes, such as managing orders and reconciling invoices.

On the Grid

Whether a retailer seeks ”The Perfect Order”, a consumer goods manufacturer seeks direct-store-delivery price-promotion-invoice synchronization, or a high-technology manufacturer desires to implement inventory by consignment with a partner, GXS says its Trading Grid provides the capabilities and reach to meet those requirements.

Retailers can use Trading Grid to track international shipments as inbound goods flow through networks of marine, air, rail and ground transportation. As a result of the increased visibility, retailers can optimize sales through better product mix and promotion planning.

“We are excited about Global eXchange Services’ vision for business process networking," says Kevin McGee, business-to-business IT technical lead at Borders Group Inc., the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based book retailer with more than 1,200 Borders and Waldenbooks stores. "Our e-commerce needs are rapidly evolving and we expect that Trading Grid will help us move beyond simply connecting with trading partners to truly engaging with them to collaboratively manage business processes.”

High-technology manufacturers can use Trading Grid to proactively and cost-effectively manage inventory at a customer’s location. Manufacturers benefit through real-time views to accurately influence replenishment decisions. Both manufacturers and customers benefit by avoiding stock-outs and reducing on-going costs.

“The process for receiving and posting invoices and determining invoice accuracy presents a constant challenge for Rohm and Haas,” said Bruce Morris, manager of trading partner integration for Rohm and Haas Co., a Philadelphia-based speciality chemicals manufacturer. “GXS’ Trading Grid allows Rohm and Haas to fully automate the process and improve the overall quality of supplier invoices. This allows both Rohm and Haas and its suppliers to focus on improving the delivery of chemical goods and services, rather than administrative tasks.”

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