G10 has a surprising array of tools, applications, and services available to the commodities business and the company’s growth, at a time when others are retracting, is evidence that these are now finding market acceptance. CEO, Richard Williamson’s objectives for his company seem to us to be spot on with what the market is looking for and examples that we were shown demonstrate real world capabilities and use. To prove a point, I was given demonstrations of several such services.
One solution I was shown was Gen10’s widely applicable In.specT platform that is being used by Intertek to map sustainability initiatives among smallholder cocoa growers in West Africa. Essentially, a dashboard with customizable widgets and drill-down views into the data, this service allows inspectors on the ground to conduct interviews and score the producers on the ground using handheld devices. They can record their producers, take photographs and video, and upload all of these records as soon as they have a WiFi connection. This allows Intertek to actively manage sustainability and prove that inspectors visited, undertook the work and more. The service includes its own survey tool, scoring and so on and surveys can be modified centrally with immediate effect across all of the inspector’s handheld devices. The application features security of access, auditing and all of the features you would expect of any modern application as well as the ability to interact with the CM/CTRM and other solutions internally as needed. Next up, Williamson tells us, is stock management audits and port inspections.
They also showed us an online trading platform, The Counter, which is being used by FIS (Freight Investor Services) as a physical offer/bid/price discovery in the international fertilizers/chemicals market; essentially a bid/offer/price discovery application targeting physical commodities, but that could be applied to any commodity and any type of market. Again, if a transaction is made, it is passed to the trading system via an API. A final demonstration was of a pricing application for deal structuring folk providing very flexible formulaic pricing capabilities for users; a kind of Pricing Engine-as-a-Service.
Generation10 opened a London office a couple of years ago and continues to expand. The G10 Commodity Manager is a fully fledged CTRM solution with significant emphasis on the supply chain aspects of moving and managing commodities developed relatively recently on a new technology stack by G10. IT has some interesting and differentiating aspects to it beyond its’ focus on supply chain optimization, traceability, and so on. One of these is the ability to add commodities and their differentiating characteristics as a configuration item; meaning that the product is truly multi-commodity.
Despite all of this, Richard Williamson is not content. Yes, G10 has built and delivered a web-enabled, modular, multi-commodity CTRM with a highly usable interface, but it is still not modular and flexible enough to satisfy his vision. That vision, he explained, is about applications and APIs, services, modules, and stand-alone applications that are properly decoupled (between themselves and from the underlying database) and that talk via APIs. He is also wary of technology fads and trends and so G10 develop APIs for example, in several different technologies, just in case one reaches end of life or doesn’t get broadly adopted.
Generation10 are building an ecosystem of applications and are already covering CTRM, online trading, insurance, trade finance, inspection and verification, and API’s that are truly usable to customers and don’t lock them in to a particular product or technology, he told us. “It is no longer about IP, it is about how you apply technology and business knowledge. It’s about providing human capital that understands the complexities of the customer’s business and how to deploy technology.” G10 wants to provide tools for all sides of the industry and all delivered as discrete services that may or may not interface with G10 Commodity Manager. “It’s more about APIs, Apps and DApps, less about monolithic architectures. Our ecosystem is Blockchain/Web3.0-ready and pilots/use-cases are being developed as we speak.”
For those who are involved with physical bulk and packaged commodities, supply chain issues are very important and CTRM software solutions need to better address these. Solutions that manage to do that effectively are often also called Commodity Management solutions and Generation10 is a supplier of CTRM and related software that has always been focused on the supply chain aspects of the commodities that its’ customers manage. Williamson and G10 have a vision in which micro services and applications with APIs can be developed and deployed in and around many of these supply chain issues interfacing with CM/CTRM and other applications as necessary. Their vision even includes using open source and third-party tools as demonstrated to me via a third-party ‘chat’ application used to interact with G10 support staff by end users. I even asked Richard if he had read our whitepaper on CTRM as an Architecture as this was the direction that we saw things going in order to solve what have been intractable issues in CTRM and his vision is definitely moving in that direction.