Interview with Christophe Vanackère, CEO of Trace One, the world leader in connecting manufacturers and retailers. He explains to us how Trace One supports manufacturers from the design stage through to shelf placement of private label products to help them “develop their business and secure their activity” in a very dynamic market.
Emenike Emmanuel: What does Trace One offer to manufacturers who want to work or already work with retailers?
Christophe Vanackère: There are 5,000 manufacturers who work with the Trace One platform keeping them in direct contact with retailers and brands. Manufacturers represent the core business of Trace One. We offer tools that enable them to exchange, communicate and store documents to develop their business. Where manufacturers used to work with one or two retailers, we now see them working with six or seven. Working with multiple retailers on the same platform allows them to pool their efforts and investments to respond quickly and efficiently to multiple RFPs and specifications. Working with Trace One allows them to diversify their customer portfolio and have an impact on their business expansion. The private label market is expected to have grown by 6% to 8% in 2020. It’s an extremely dynamic market, and everyone is benefiting from this growth, especially manufacturers. Over the years, we have launched several offers for manufacturers to ensure that we meet their challenges with new tools and growth measurements to understand their needs for continued industrial development. As an example, we work with a small producer of goat cheese in the Pyrenees (in France) who, thanks to good use of our tools, is now refusing demand. He has secured his activity and sells in Spain and in all Europe. It’s our job to support manufacturers in their growth, whatever their size.
Emenike Emmanuel: What are the main advantages of Trace One tools?
Christophe Vanackère: Trace One tools are collaborative and shared between manufacturers and retailers, which enables them to form real partnerships to exchange information on private labels, but above all, it gives the ability for them to respond to specifications very quickly, a crucial issue for all players in the sector. Manufacturers and retailers share and maintain common documents that allow them to follow the evolution of the product in real-time, from specifications to production. This is extremely reassuring for manufacturers because it facilitates monitoring and allows them to return to their commitments at any time. This is the basis of our offer: to have a reference document that will live and keep the history of the product and of mutual commitments. This makes it possible to find all the necessary information on a best-seller from 5 or 7 years ago so that it can be put back on the market by updating it according to current needs. Thanks to Trace One, product data management is always accessible. In addition, we are in contact with manufacturers and their entire ecosystem of suppliers of raw materials, packaging, and fresh produce, which allows us to have collaborative documents shared between all stakeholders.
Emenike Emmanuel: Trace One also provides a marketplace for private label manufacturers
Christophe Vanackère: Exactly. We launched a marketplace for manufacturers a year ago. It’s a space that allows them to present their products and have access to all the distributors. It is a free and very intuitive platform because we wanted everyone, including small manufacturers, to be able to take advantage of this product. The marketplace is a showcase where manufacturers can present their products, their know-how, but also key elements to attract the attention of distributors, such as recipes, the origins of raw materials used, certifications, or the location of production. Today, we already have 3,000 manufacturers registered on the marketplace who, thanks to this tool, have access not only to all French, European and international retailers but also to major national brands. The objective is to give visibility and to offer business development perspectives to manufacturers of all sizes.
Emenike Emmanuel: Do you have other solutions to support the growth of manufacturers?
Christophe Vanackère: We have indeed launched a call for tenders module (RFx) that allows retailers to launch calls for tenders, and manufacturers to respond in a standardized and collaborative manner. Retailers are able to make requests with very precise filters, which enables them to widen their circle of partners and get in touch with manufacturers with whom they had not previously worked. This service is based on a Freemium model: industrialists can respond to a certain number of calls for tender free of charge, and then the formula becomes paying for those who wish to respond to more calls for tender. In addition to our RFx module, we offer manufacturers a business intelligence software called Trace One Insight. It’s a dashboard that allows you to manage your business and your projects. It allows you to track the progress of all projects with a customer to reduce the time it takes to get products on the shelf, which is one of the reasons for Trace One’s existence. In concrete terms, Trace One Insight can enable a manufacturer to know in real-time the evolution of, for example, the salt reduction objectives of a product desired by a given retailer, but also, at the other end of the chain, the price of salt. This gives the company a 360° view of its business and its data and enables it to optimally monitor the use of all its raw materials. Finally, Trace One offers training sessions for manufacturers using our services. This is an activity that has developed a lot during the crisis and is very much appreciated, as we regularly have webinars with 150 or 200 people. This service is partially included in the subscription, with additional requests billed, and includes workshops to refresh functionalities and real-life cases through skills transfer.