I always enjoy getting a demo of CTRM and related software and, over the years, I think I have seen almost every solution available. So, I was pleased to be given a briefing and high-level demo recently by Phlo Systems. Phlo Systems used to be known as Satoshi Systems, but it has rebranded across the board to better reflect what it offers to the industry. Phlo Systems has also grown on the back of its success to date and is already a sizeable entity with staffs in Europe, Africa, and India.
While the point of the demo was to show me opsPhlo, its SaaS-based Commodity Management solution, I also learned that it offers a couple of other products including tradePhlo, a web-based customs declarations platform that caters specifically to the UK customs, and finPhlo, trade finance ERP for trade funds and alternative financers. tradePhlo now has over 100 companies using it for UK customs clearances and there are plans to extend it cater to Netherlands customs clearances as well.
opsPhlo is an interesting offering as it combines ERP and CTRM, which is why I referred to it above as Commodity Management. The ERP platform is that by Acumatica and Phlo Systems has built a modular extension to cover the commodity-specific aspects including CTRM functionality. opsPhlo can also plug into other ERP solutions if required and it currently has half a dozen customers utilizing it. The solution has been developed over the last 4 years, I was told, and these customers have helped to co-develop the solution to the point that Phlo Systems see it as ready to go to market more generally. It is flexible and modular SaaS, multi-tenanted, but can also be delivered as a stand-alone instance in a custom form if desired.
Being a new solution on a modern technology stack, the first thing to note about the solution is that it is dashboard-driven with configurable and personalizable dashboards available by user role. Screens look tidy, user-friendly, and modern. Each area of the dashboard is clickable allowing users to drill into the data as required. Set up is highly configurable as you might expect of a multi-tenanted solution; they are keen to implement in phases to suit client business needs or gaps in their application landscape. It has a broad functional footprint (somewhat like SAP Commodity Management) though being modular, users can implement just the appropriate functionality. This includes not just CTRM functions like trade capture, contract management, pricing, and invoicing but also commodity management areas like inventory management, manufacturing and so on. However, being a relatively new offering, the solution still lacks depth in some areas such as risk management and more generally in other areas of the platform, but this is quite usual for a new solution that is currently used by a handful of smaller customers. Adding very specific and complex functional depth will occur through their ongoing roadmap for development, and also as it expands its user base to include other commodities and larger, more complex trading operations.
Currently, the solution is squarely targeted at smaller ags and softs firms where it has a good level of functionality and configurability to provide a solution; and also to larger traders who need a specific and quick solution to solve a particular challenge. Currently, Phlo Systems is generally competing with do nothing and/or Excel spreadsheets along with a small number of other vendors offering commodity management solutions in ags and softs. As Phlo gains traction, the platform will mature and, with its modular architecture, modern technology stack and ability to help users manage the entire supply chain, we expect to see more of Phlo in the future.