Trames, a Singapore-based supply chain orchestration platform, has launched a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) optimise supply chain operations and improve overall profitability.

Created in 2019, Trames is designed to improve collaboration with logistics partners through the sharing of track-and-trace data, business intelligence and customised analytics. Running on R3’s Corda, the blockchain-based platform enables collaborative drafting and confirmation of shipping documentation and advanced analytics. The company says this can help to optimise decision-making as well as speed up often sluggish shipping processes by reducing physical paperwork and the number of manual touchpoints in the supply chain.

The company’s new SaaS solution, targeted at SMEs, was built upon feedback from multinational clients who have been using the platform to digitise their supply chain operations, says Kevin Lim, co-founder and CEO of Trames, adding: “However, unlike multinationals, we’ve learnt that SMEs require a solution that is more standardised, turnkey, intuitive to use and simple to onboard in order to solve their pain points.”

The main features of the SaaS solution include a blockchain-enabled repository for shipping documents, real-time updates of shipment statuses, and a free trade agreement (FTA) mapping tool.

“Many SMEs don’t really need extensive governance mechanisms like ERP integrations, or the complexity that is baked into our multinational offering, since they might only do 10 or 20 shipments a month,” Lim tells GTR. “Hence this is a lighter application that will help us to quickly grow and scale our client base.”

The solution has already been trialled by a number of SMEs in Singapore, including Ademco, a provider of security solutions and services to businesses and governments across Asia. In a statement, Lim How Kiat, Ademco’s general manager, says: “Granular visibility across our shipments – especially international ones – has always been a challenge for us, where we are highly dependent on the promptness of our forwarders or other partners we work with. Without this visibility, we may be subject to delays that would cause liquidated damages and demurrage costs.”

The launch of the new product comes as the Monetary Authority of Singapore cautions that SMEs are bearing the brunt of trade challenges due to weak external demand and the ongoing disruptions to global supply chains caused by Covid-19. To combat this, Enterprise Singapore and the Infocomm and Media Development Authority (IMDA) recently put out a refreshed Industry Digital Plan for the city-state’s logistics sector, which includes digital solutions to help support SMEs within global supply chains.

Meanwhile, the country has recently adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR) into domestic legislation, granting electronic trade documents the same legal standing as their paper-based counterparts. This came a year after the IMDA launched the TradeTrust initiative, which Trames has adopted, to streamline trade digitisation by enabling interoperability across different trade platforms and formats.

“Singapore’s recent amendment to the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA) recognises the creation and use of electronic bills of lading (eBLs) as legal equivalents of paper-based ones, making digitalised trade more accessible,” says Loh Sin Yong, director of trade at the IMDA. “Trames integrates TradeTrust interoperable standards in its commercially ready product. This will enable trading partners of all sizes and across different levels of digital readiness to trade globally.”

Lim tells GTR that the company is currently working on strengthening the foundation of its electronic document exchange features. “We have also been working on the MLETR project with the IMDA to adopt those standards into our offering. In doing so, we will be able to incorporate an electronic representation of any shipping document on the Trames platform, for it to be easily transferred, verified in a safe and authenticable manner.”

As well as its work with the IMDA, Trames is also piloting blockchain firm R3’s new eBL solution, the Corda eBL. Launched into beta this month, the software development toolkit, built on R3’s Corda blockchain platform, enables Corda Enterprise customers to embed eBLs directly into their offering, instead of having to refer their users to third-party solution providers.

Trames says it now plans to “progressively improve” its new SaaS solution while working closely with SMEs to better understand their needs.