ecFood (www.ecFood.com), a pioneer in web-based software for sourcing and bidding solutions for the food and beverage industry, recently released ecSpec, a customized specification communication tool that streamlines the online ingredient purchasing process. ecSpec mirrors and automates the complexities of communicating ingredient specifications between buyers and sellers to prepare for transactions including demand aggregations, auctions or proposals.


ecSpec is the newest member of ecFood’s family of hosted services created specifically for the procurement needs of the industrial food and beverage sector.  At the core of ecSpec are several sophisticated data management features including specification templates, standardized industry terminology, keyword-based or parametric searches and multiple users capabilities, version management control, web posting function and advanced security.


“ecSpec is a powerful time saver that provides buyers with a standardized method to communicate specific ingredient needs internally and also with their suppliers,” said Dave Laukat, CEO, of ecFood. “ecSpec informs suppliers in advance about what exact ingredient a buyer is seeking therefore adding great value for both parties. It also dramatically impacts communication in a multi-plant environment and all along the supply-chain.”


Specification Templates
A central feature of ecSpec is the ecFood specification templates. The templates provide an organizational foundation for both buyers and sellers to prepare items for online transactions.  A buyer can either use the ecFood specification templates as they exist, or they can revise and save them as secure files that reflect their particular ingredient and recipe requirements.  Individual purchasers can save these customized specifications for future use. ecSpec enables clients to outsource most of the documentation management of ingredient and packing material specifications in preparation for e-procurement.


Standardized Terminology
ecSpec’s template data, researched and written by food scientists, uses standardized food industry terminology. The specification templates are classified in extensive food ingredient ontology according to categories such as confectionary, grain products or sweeteners and include attributes including chemical, physical, microbiological, and food-specific certifications. The purchaser can add or remove attribute fields or categories and then save them for use in future e-procurement events. This ontology serves as a base for a knowledge framework that enables all parties involved to communicate on the same level significantly improving time efficiencies.


Search Engine, Multiple Users Access
ecSpec allows users to run searches based on keywords or parameters that they want to see in a particular template. This allows for fast creation and editing of specifications.  Another innovative ecSpec feature is its multiple-user capabilities. There are several instances where this feature assists dynamic online procurement.  One is where multiple companies are participating in a single ingredient aggregated buy.  This enables all parties in the aggregation to access the actual specifications and approve the ingredient before sourcing, therefore greatly reducing confusion and increasing efficiency.  Another instance where the multi-user capabilities are useful is when a purchaser, who originally designed the specs, needs feedback from another department within their company, such as R&D, before sourcing. This function is particularly valuable to multi-plant operations and can dramatically impact the communication process within the supply-chain.


Fine-Grained Security, Version Management Control and Web Posting Function Because the food industry is very competitive, a primary concern of manufacturers is the confidentiality of their recipes and key ingredients. In anticipation of these security concerns, ecFood has imbedded several security features in ecSpec. A buyer can choose who within their organization has access to their specifications and whether these individual can simply review the specs or modify them.  This provides a purchasing professional with total control over the security of their specifications. Another security feature is the ability to temporarily attach portions or entire specifications to a sourcing event as a web page, which then reverts to a secure place on the site after the necessary pre-auction specifications are given to the suppliers.


About ecFood
ecFood is a pioneer in bringing web-enabled sourcing software tools and services to the industrial food sector. Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, ecFood combines substantial food and beverage industry knowledge with advanced e-commerce technology. We provide online methods that reflect real world purchasing practices.  ecSourcing, our suite of sourcing and bidding solutions, takes the “best practices” of the industrial purchasing
system and blends them with the inherent efficiencies and savings of the new economy. Forbes Magazine recently recognized ecFood.com as “Best of the Web” for the B2B sites in the food industry. For more information, visit www.ecFood.com or call 408.566-6130.



Contact:
Judy Conner
ecFood
Public Relations Manager
Ph: 408.566.6130 x 227
Fax: 408.566.6148
connerj@ecfood.com
www.ecfood.com