Modules Cut Supply Chain Risk

FreeMarkets is helping enterprises manage risk.

FreeMarkets Inc. says an upgrade to its ES supply management platform will help manufacturers better manage risk along their supply chains by providing new modules to help companies manage information, requirements, negotiations, suppliers and transactions.

ES 4.0, which Pittsburgh-based FreeMarkets unveiled last week, adds two new modules, ES Decision Management and ES Supplier Relationship Management. A number of enhancements to the core product enable better sourcing decisions and more ease of use, officials said.

Designed to help companies maximize their sourcing activities, ES Decision Management features automatic notifications of incomplete supplier data and tools to optimize results on a rolling basis—and to reoptimize as new data is received.

The module also provides the ability for users to create and save scenarios with configurable constraints, to work in other areas of the FreeMarkets platform while scenarios are optimized, and to automatically pull supplier responses to requisitions into scenarios, officials said.

ES Supplier Relationship Management is geared toward helping companies manage an often-vast number of supplier relationships. The module has a host of features, including a central supplier library, a supplier portal, supplier self-registration, score carding, analysis and supplier activity tracking. Customizable templates enable the creation of self-registration forms, supplier opportunity overviews, capability overviews and profiles, and supplier score cards.

Laura Bottger, global supply chain leader with Phelps Dodge Mining Co., has been able to achieve some of her companys procurement goals as it shifts from FreeMarkets Quick Source offering to the ES 4.0 platform.

"A lot of our main goals were to have a single solution that could gather responses for [requests for information] and could do all types of quotes ... do more robust reporting and have the potential to integrate our ERP [enterprise resource planning] system, be able to import information into ES and export that back out to the ERP," said Bottger, in Phoenix.

FreeMarkets has "helped us with our process and in creating some discipline in our organization, and increased collaboration," Bottger said.