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The power of digital trade – creating new opportunities in uncertain markets
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The power of digital trade – creating new opportunities in uncertain markets

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Out of uncertainty comes opportunity, says Kevin O’Sullivan, CEO and co-founder of Nui Markets, who encourages people to keep this in mind when hesitant to try new trading strategies in a volatile market.

The European dairy industry is facing unprecedented challenges right now, and, understandably, companies retreat to what they know, but there is little to be gained by sticking with the status quo when digital platforms, by the very nature of their flexibility, and access to real-time data can improve market outcomes at a time when you need it most, says Kevin O’Sullivan CEO and co-founder of Nui Markets, a global digital trading platform for dairy and agricultural products.

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Dairy traders need to embrace the value of digital trade now more than ever, he says. “Real-time data, up-to-the-minute price discovery, defendable price audit trails and quick access to new markets are imperative to have at your fingertips to succeed in uncertain markets,” notes O’Sullivan. “There can be a tendency for companies to view an unsuccessful online auction or procurement tender as a failure if they can’t find that price point or that buy-side, but in fact, despite that, what a digital platform gives you in real-time is up-to-the-minute, category-specific market feedback to communicate to your teams and make more immediate changes to strategy to plan for the best outcomes in the current market”.

For new adopters, he advises picking one opportunity to explore and starting small to address the hesitancy sometimes faced within organisations to adopt new practices.

“Many companies fear the resources required to digitise part or all their sales and purchasing, and worldwide disruption has added demands on everyone’s time. But the reality is that our infrastructure is already globally established.

“Digital trade also increases trade efficiency, allowing you more time to spend with customers by letting the technology do the heavy lifting of the logistics and administration involved in trading a physical product,” he says.

Nui Markets has two digital trading platform pathways: Nui Enterprise, bespoke platforms for individual companies and Nui Marketplace, which operates dairy marketplaces in North America and Europe (formerly DAO). These are open marketplaces where vetted buyers and sellers can come together under one roof. Users can be up and running quickly with minimal resources, and the cost to implement is low, says O’Sullivan.

Tailored support for exports

The European dairy industry relies heavily on the export market, with trade agreements and market access conditions playing a significant role in its success. In response to an increased customer need to explore new trading opportunities, Nui Markets recently ignited a call for registrations to join Nui Marketplace International, a natural expansion beyond the company’s successful domestic trading marketplaces in Europe and North America that aims to provide more tailored support for suppliers looking to expand their export footprint.

Nui has been operating in Europe since 2017 and has formed deep relationships with leading dairy processors, including Arla, Tirlán, and Valio.  O’Sullivan comments that partnerships are core to the platform’s success. “Technology, no matter what it promises to do, will not deliver without a clear strategy and business outcome in mind,” he says. “At Nui, we bring all our experience and our experts across the globe to partner with you to co-develop and support your trading approach.”

Investing in buy-side talent is critical to supporting users of Nui platforms worldwide. It has contributed to the success of the North American marketplace new procurement tender feature, which subscribers embrace. Regular procurement tenders from key global procurement players, such as Alvoar, ILCHISA, and The Hershey Company, create much seller interest and opportunity for new export market discovery.

Opportunities for European dairy processors

O’Sullivan notes that Nui’s European customers could greatly benefit from procurement tenders and firmly believes Nui can bring more qualified buyers from outside Europe.

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While the US dairy processors are keen to explore new markets to find buyers outside of domestic trade due to the expected increased volume of milk coming online, the benefits of exploring new markets for European dairy processors are broader price discovery and demand insight beyond standard trading connections.

“Asia is keen to explore procurement opportunities in the US and Europe, and digital trading networks can enable companies to quickly assess the buyer interest across APAC and the price/volume that can be achieved,” he says. “Combine broader access to markets and innovative ways to discover price, such as our platform’s configuration to trade against several different indexes; you have a powerful hedge method as part of your risk management approach to keep pace with innovations and new ways to trade.”

Involved in establishing the NZX Dairy futures, O’Sullivan knew it was only a matter of time before physical trade followed the same path to digitisation. Nui Markets, a global company based in New Zealand, chose its name in homage to Te Reo Māori, the country’s indigenous language. Nui means big, great and vast, encompassing the company’s vision to combine the speed and convenience of a B2B digital trading platform with the specific requirements and industry expertise of a dedicated category marketplace environment.

To hear O'Sullivan explain how a partnership with Nui goes beyond simply an easy-to-use digital trading platform to the support of a worldwide network of dairy experts, clickhere​.

“I am passionate about the value our platform can bring to agricultural product traders by connecting trade data and markets from all around the world that are specific and relevant to market levers of a product – our platforms create a fairer and more transparent marketplace for anyone to come to market and achieve a better outcome, no matter what the market circumstances may be,” he says.

“I think the only thing we can be certain about right now is to expect more uncertainty, and embracing digital trade solutions as part of your sales and procurement strategy will only strengthen your operational processes and improve your outlook.” 

To find out how Nui Markets can help you create a digital trade platform, see the video below: