One major response to the disruptions of the last year has been a significant increase in agility amongst commodity producers, traders and processors. During the lockdowns triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, this agility was seen as necessary for business survival. It enabled teams to keep the business moving whilst working remotely and meant collaborating with customers to renegotiate logistics and billing in an ever-changing situation.
Even when we return to less volatile times, this new-found agility can create a significant advantage to businesses. It allows them to move quickly; seizing new opportunities and finding new ways to add value by constantly learning, adapting and growing.
To support these agile outcomes, commodity traders and other organisations need to ensure their systems are also agile, particularly core commodity management and CTRM systems. If your digital processes are rigid and inflexible, they can impede or negate the advantages of the agile environment created in the physical world.
What do we mean by “agility”?
“Agile” can mean different things to different people. It began as a way to develop software faster and in a way that works better for clients. The ethos of agile software development is to prioritise customer collaboration and respond as things change rather than blindly following the original plan.
Development takes place in short iterations that allow the client to experience parts of the software as it is created, with the technology then refined after feedback. This means that the software can be adapted to be more in-line with the users’ needs, can be changed as required and can help clients find ways to improve their original processes.
This type of agility is an important part of how Gen10 deliver our best CTRM and commodity management solutions for clients, but is clearly not what we mean when we refer to commodity businesses as “agile”.
The concept of “agile” quickly spread from its origins in software development to describe the way business functions in a wide range of companies are changing their working practices to respond to new situations. The focus on learning and adapting as things change, continuous improvement and harnessing the skills of all individuals to create better outcomes for customers has been recognised for some time as a competitive advantage for organisations that embrace agility.
Creating software that supports agility
Collaborating with customers is a core part of agile software development, and a key part of Gen10’s recipe for successful software implementations. We know how important it is to form a collaborative team with our clients from day one, and to understand what they are looking to achieve from their software on an ongoing basis.
This collaboration can take a wide range of forms, depending on what our clients need. It might involve simply adapting the automation workflows to their processes, meaning that their commodity management system exactly follows and automates their unique real-world processes. Working closely with clients may also involve custom development, either to add new features that digitalise a new area of the client’s operations, to develop a new app or to improve our software further for all clients.
We also work closely with clients to ensure projects are conducted according to their timescales, such as onboarding particular business areas first or redefining implementation plans if client timescales change. For example, watch this excerpt from a recent webinar where Gen10 CEO Richard Williamson discusses how we worked with Halcyon Agri to create a rapid global implementation plan, then adapted as the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything.
Why collaboration creates the best CTRM software
Working closely with clients has allowed us to develop the best commodity management software in multiple ways. Thinking about the best way to serve the needs of multiple clients using the same software led us to completely overhaul our platform several years ago. We created a flexible ecosystem of commodity management apps, prioritising integrations with other platforms to create truly unique solutions.
We deliver these services in the cloud so that all clients benefit immediately from new features and software releases. Our collaborative approach has allowed us to enter new commodity markets with all the specific functionality that their assets need whilst ensuring core systems have the in-built flexibility to work with all our clients’ different requirements.
It is this thinking that informs how we automate processes for our clients. Each organisation has their own rules for pricing assays, FX and interest, so our Pricing Engine allows you to specify your own formulae for a range of variables and create your unique automated pricing calculations to reduce errors and improve processing speeds. And the Gen10 Workflow Engine that underlies our digital process automation is also based on our understanding that even within a given commodity, each organisation’s processes are different and their technology needs to be personalised and flexible to reflect this.
This customer focus has allowed us to create a commodity management platform that provides far more features than a traditional CTRM does. As well as the usual risk management and hedging features, Gen10’s Commodity.Manager automates the entire contract lifecycle, from deal capture and creating contract documents to logistics and shipping – and that is without any of the other Gen10 apps.
Having worked closely with clients in the commodities sector for over 20 years, we understand how businesses like yours operate and the evolving complexities of different markets. This market understanding is critical for us in translating our technology into personalised solutions to the real-world challenges your business is facing. It also means we are always looking to the future to understand where the commodities industry is heading so that we continue to develop new solutions for our clients now and deliver technology that will remain market leading in future.
Find out more about our collaborative approach and what it could mean for your business – drop us a message today.
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