Commodity trader improves data management

Research from a company called Attunity looked in part at how managers within companies are spending more time than they think they should researching, compiling and analysing information. Attunity says that as a result, managers are frustrated they don’t have the time to focus on key issues. As a topline overview:

  • An inordinate amount of time is being spent by highly valued and highly paid employees to gather, collate and massage data versus analyzing it and acting on it; UK managers spend an average of 11 hours per week; US managers spend an average of 12 hours per week; nearly 30% of the week
  • 30% of US managers spend over 20 hours a week gathering, compiling and reviewing information and 31% indicated one of their top frustrations was sourcing accurate, complete and reliable information
  • 50% of managers think they spend more time than they should handling information

The research also covered how business managers view their environment, daily workload and their organization’s effectiveness.

Balli is among the world’s largest privately owned independent commodity traders. Headquartered in the UK and using a global network of offices, the Group has consolidated sales exceeding $1billion. It specialises in the trading of primary, industrial and consumer commodities, including steel, non-ferrous metals, chemicals and agricultural products.

The group has a number of traders who negotiate deals, a treasury department which arranges the credit with a number of banks, a shipping department that arranges the transportation and a risk department that assesses the risk of a deal given the countries involved and Balli’s current financial exposure in that country. The company has a general desire to get better visibility of deals and the associated information including lines of credit from banks, financial risk limits by country and positive and negative amendments to deal profit.

The company used to get visibility of any changes to these deals once a week when an Excel spreadsheet was produced. This is built using an extract from the trading system that is used by a reporting engine to create the Excel file. This is then augmented by information from the previous week’s report. This was a time consuming process and is performed by one person. If the person is ill or away then this process can be delayed or not happen at all. Although the spreadsheet contains a lot of information details of any changes to the deals are difficult to identify and analyse.

Attunity allowed Ballt to:

  • Deal Visibility and Control – early potential problem identification, and exception management; greater understanding of overall commitments; risk exposure and resolution
  • Enhanced Agility – pro-active tracking and monitoring of real-time information and subsequent actions; faster response to changing market conditions
  • Increased Effectiveness – focused and contextual deal-centric information; faster trader review of forward book, positive and negative amendments, exchange rates etc; management of subsequent actions taken.