One sure sign that global supply chains are expanding: Sales of global trade management (GTM) software are soaring. According to the research firm ARC Advisory Group, sales of this application totaled US $503 million in 2007 and will reach US $814 million in 2012.
One reason why ARC forecasts a 10percent compounded annual growth rate is that companies need help keeping up with changing global trade regulations. GTM software also helps with navigating trade finance, often provides shipment visibility, and assists with procuring ocean and air shipping services. Adding to its popularity is that some vendors offer it under a "software as a service" model. This allows users to "rent" the software, which is delivered over the Internet, avoiding the headaches that come with buying and installing licensed packages.
Although enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor SAP is the largest player in the GTM market, "best of breed" vendors also offer top-rated solutions, says ARC. "This is an interesting market, where the growth of ERP suppliers with global trade management solutions does not come at the expense of certain types of best-of-breed solutions," said analyst Steve Banker.
[Source: Global Trade Management Worldwide Outlook: Market Analysis and Forecast Through 2012, ARC Advisory Services, July 2008]