Exclusive Elaine Watson, Vienna Don't mull over investing in b2b e-commerce for 12, six or even three months, Transora chief executive Judy Sprieser warned grocery representatives at Austria's Vienna Centre: "You have to figure it out now. Participation in e-marketplaces will rapidly become a necessity, not an option." Just seven months after its inception, the manufacturer led net trading exchange is now in pilot mode for most of its services, which include promotion management, procurement, ordering, an item catalogue, auction hosting and collaborative planning. After conducting more than 30 pilots in the US and Europe, Transora is live, "just not scaled up," explained Sprieser. "The technology is there." The auction service is already generating revenues, and controlled commercial launches of other retail and procurement services will commence during the first quarter of next year. Whether retailers will use a site created and funded exclusively by suppliers is another matter. While Transora was not created to square up' to retailer led exchanges, and Sprieser insists a battle of the exchanges is "not productive for anyone", Transora's chief business officer Rick Herbst acknowledged GlobalNetXchange (GNX) and WorldWideRetailExchange (WWRE) offer some parallel services and could be seen as direct competitors. "Really it's a race to get the services to market, and see which prove to have the best functionality." Nevertheless, GNX chief executive Joe Laughlin features in Transora's promotional video, extolling the virtues of E2E partnerships between exchanges, which, he says, have too much to gain from working together. A recent pilot testing supply chain collaboration between Procter & Gamble and Germany's Metro worked through GNX and Transora. Discussions are in progress over linking to Wal-Mart's private exchange and WWRE. By going public somewhere down the line to raise sufficient equity, Transora will probably buy some smaller exchanges, added Sprieser. A "gateway to exchanges," and even an application service provider, Transora works by leveraging the cash and industrial expertise of 53 of the world's top fmcgs to offer services individual companies "cannot possibly afford to invest in". {{NEWS }}