Deutsche Bank’s Global Trade Finance unit claims that it is set to revolutionise supply chain management – as well as reduce the expense and stress of cross-border trading – with the European launch of InfoTr@ck, its unique online trade tracking and reporting platform for clients.
InfoTr@ck’s capabilities include:
Collating trade-related data on one web-based platform – including documentary credits, bankers guarantees, documentary collections, open account and shipping details
Allowing customers to easily access time-accurate information on the status of individual trades – right along the value chain,
Permitting third parties such as freight forwarders and insurers to access the information online – with access controlled and secured by the client.
But the system is designed to reduce delays, not just by conveniently storing and presenting trade information. Because the platform is web-based there is no onsite installation and Deutsche Bank can update the system remotely. Yet InfoTr@ck is fully customised for, and by, the user. User-defined reports are automatically updated – with email alerts programmed as required – and the screen can be personalised to allow reports for, say, the treasury, sales, logistics or credit functions. It also has a multi-language capability.
“Deutsche Bank recognised that a web-based tool for business tracking, supply chain management and time-sensitive decision-making would save time and enhance efficiency for clients,” says Roger Tremain, head of trade and risk services at Deutsche Bank in London. “This, of course, will save the client money.”
The platform came flying through trials in Asia in 2003 and is being rolled out in the UK, Continental Europe and North America throughout 2004. Indeed, such were the efficiencies revealed by the Asian trials, Deutsche Bank is confident that InfoTr@ck can eliminate the sometimes-costly overlaps on various trade-cycle instruments.
“From the original bidding process to the expiry of the warranty, via commodity hedges, letters of credit and payments – traders are faced with a myriad of trade instruments,” says Tremain. “They all cost money and they usually overlap and have inbuilt margins of error. Yet InfoTr@ck makes chain management so much more efficient the time overlaps and exposure margins can be reduced if not eliminated – reducing the costs of such instruments.”
InfoTr@ck is part of Deutsche Bank’s holistic approach to trade finance, in which it aims to offer a “one stop shop” for all trade finance requirements. Given this, the platform should help identify other related trade finance banking activities where Deutsche Bank can assist – such as FX or interest rate hedges. The platform also dovetails with Deutsche Bank’s documentary outsourcing solutions.
“Many exporters are unhappy at the expense and cumbersome payment process related to documentary letters of credit,” says Tremain. “So Deutsche Bank speeds up the payment process for the client by allowing them to outsource to our Global Trade Management service, which prepares documentation for clients. By outsourcing to GTM complex and extensive settlement processes lose their explosive nature.”
“It is innovations such as InfoTr@ck and GTM,” adds Tremain, “that prove our commitment to trade finance.”