CHICAGO -- Transora, one of the three major electronic exchanges serving the food industry, has laid off 24 workers in a cost-cutting move.
Transora CEO Judith Spreiser told SN that speculation that it is about to merge with one of the other major exchanges is premature.
While not completely ruling out a merger, Spreiser said what is needed more immediately is better collaboration among all the exchanges.
The other two exchanges are Worldwide Retail Exchange (WWRE), Alexandria, Va., and GlobalNetxchange (GNX), San Francisco.
"Right now we're not completely delivering on our original vision [to collaborate]," Spreiser said.
"A link must be made to each other. We need to reach out to create interoperabiliity, collaboration."
The 24 workers who were let go represent about 15% of Transora's workforce, which now numbers about 145, Spreiser said.
Spreiser said the cutbacks were made after a work-flow study was completed. She said there was evidence that some jobs could be eliminated without affecting the services offered to its members.
Industry observers have been speculating for months that the industry would be unable to sustain three major electronic food exchanges.
The speculation heightened in June at the Grocery Manufacturers of America's Executive Conference when the CEOs of the three exchanges speculated that a merger was imminent.
Spreiser said talks among the exchanges are going on constantly. She said she foresees both a possible merger or more collaboration down the road.
"We can use commercial linkage as a means of deepening our alliances," Spreiser said. Like the other exchanges, Transora is a business-to-business, online exchange that seeks to facilitate the trading relationships between retailers and suppliers, offering auctions, CPFR and item catalogues.