Transora, the manufacturer-led b2b exchange claiming to transform the global food, beverage and consumer products industry, has denied it is trying to steal a march on retailer led exchanges such as the GlobalNetXchange or WorldWideRetail Exchange. New chief executive Judith Sprieser, formerly ceo at Sara Lee, told The Grocer: "Both of these exchanges are actually working with us. "This represents a great opportunity for all players in the industry to link up. And we can build firewalls into the system so individual players can protect proprietary information." "We are in the unique position of being able to link both up and downstream to retailers and our suppliers." Transora enables ingredients suppliers, manufacturers and retailers to use the internet to procure goods and services, lower inventory levels, and share information on a real time basis with partners in the supply chain. The first service offering, an online procurement and product catalogue, is being launched at the end of this year, while collaborative supply chain planning will follow shortly afterwards. With a membership comprising 53 top notch fmcgs from across the globe, including PepsiCo, Coke, Procter & Gamble and Unilever, Transora is designed to give manufacturers more control over the relationships between suppliers and retailers. But it's not only the big boys who will benefit, claims Sprieser. "Small manufacturers can link up to our systems using a browser based link. All they need is a PC." Mike Quinn, md at e-collaborative specialist Eqos, which is working with Transora on compiling online product catalogues, said: "The value of exchanges will be realised when they get into collaborative supply chain software. Collaborative planning allows suppliers to see the demand for their products on a real time basis." Sprieser said: "By digitising the SKU for a particular brand of coke in the same format, everyone can use that information." The exchange is in its infancy but a series of pilots have already been conducted to test out the technology from partners Ariba and i2. Investors will see returns on their cash within 18 months to two years through cost savings from a more integrated supply chain, but Sprieser ruled out the possibility of going public in the immediate future. {{NEWS }}