Frictionless debuts suite to automate sourcing

Frictionless Commerce Inc. yesterday announced a software suite intended to automate the strategic sourcing process, spanning supplier selection and vendor management.

Several high-profile organizations, including John Hancock Financial Services, Hasbro Inc., the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Air Force, are poised to deploy the Frictionless Sourcing product, which is designed to eliminate some of the most painful aspects of corporate direct and indirect purchasing.

"The Internet has made it easier than ever and faster than ever to buy the wrong thing," said Eric Levin, vice president of marketing at Cambridge, Mass-based Frictionless Commerce. "Just because you have an e-procurement system doesn't mean you've solved your sourcing problem."

Savings generated through strategic sourcing directly impact a company's bottom line, said Frictionless Commerce officials. In fact, they estimate that saving $1 in sourcing has the same bottom line impact as a $5 to $25 increase in sales revenue.

The enterprise-class software is designed to support continuous, intelligent sourcing across all expenditure categories, eliminating costly outsourcing or transaction fees. It addresses each step of the sourcing process, providing all the tools critical to sourcing centralized at the purchasing manager's desktop, Levin said.

"Sourcing people are driven ... by a sourcing project," Levin said. "They create a lot of documents. They involve a lot of people. They have multiple RFQs [requests for quotes] and multiple auctions running. This is a place to tie all that together."

John Hancock plans to integrate the Frictionless solution to tie its bidding and contract management functions with its requisitions, said Roy Anderson, the company's corporate purchasing director.

"Our hope is to have this application be the funnel for all that contractual activity," Anderson said. "It is impossible to track down all the leads. We hope to be able to make a significant reduction in our total cost structure."

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