Meeting Trade Extensions – Howzat!

by Peter Smith on October 18, 2010

I had a phone call the other day.

“Hi, this is Garry.  I’m MD of Trade Extensions, we know Jason at Spend Matters and he suggested we should call you and introduce ourselves”.

Great – good to speak.

“But I think we might know each other.  Did you run the Mars Confectionery cricket team in the late 80’s? ”

Yes….. only because no other mug would book the pitch, find the opposition, get 11 people who would turn up, buy the beers….

“It’s Garry Mansell.  I was the opening batsman…”

What a small world.  20 years since we last met. Garry was a young R&D scientist, I was an almost-as-young buyer.  Anyway, he now runs Trade Extensions, who as Jason has explained have a particularly strong software offering in the sourcing optimisation ’space’.  (They have an integrated suite of eSourcing tools but optimisation is where the business really started, developed by two Mathematicians from Uppsala University in Sweden – they are still involved and major shareholders).

I had a demo the other day and it is very clever stuff – if you have a sourcing task that involves hundreds of line items, with dependencies, many suppliers, multiple constraints and so on it is very impressive.  I love numbers and enjoyed the optimisation and related topics at university (far more than the pure Maths which I never got to grips with) so I was fascinated by the way you can vary your constraints and get instantly re-calculated outcomes in seconds across thousands of bid items.  ” Let’s have no more than two suppliers from Spain, only one suppleir per pick-up location, no-one gets more than 20% of our business, and I won’t have any suppliers whose name begins with a ‘c’…”

After Mars Confectionery, Garry ran a business within Mars – Freight Traders – then with a few colleagues left Mars (all very amicable), and did a management buy-in to Trade Extensions, having used their platform in Freight Traders.  Their business has grown well beyond freight procurement – although that is still a strength – and they have a strong blue-chip, mainly private sector customer base, with some very impressive names on their list. And quite unusually, their business is split almost equally between the USA and Europe.

Anyway, we’ll talk further in more detail about their offerings I’m sure; and I’m still shaking my head over how 20 years can turn a bouncy young food chemist (with a very decent off-drive) into a serious software mogul!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Florence Gregg October 18, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Can’t get to grips with pure maths?? A man after my own heart – I was told by a dear friend that one day I’d have a ‘lightbulb moment’ and it would all ‘fall into place’. Well, 30+ years and 2 children through GCSEs and A levels later, and that lightbulb must be fused!

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