Social tools and business networks have changed the very nature of business and engagement. And innovative companies are leveraging them to fuel new, more efficient processes that drive advantage. Take Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW). As a multinational manufacturer of industrial products and equipment, the company relies on a global base of suppliers to produce the value-added products its customers have come to expect. ITW has enriched their network of suppliers using Ariba® Discovery, the premier service for matching buyers and sellers globally offered by Ariba, an SAP company. On March 18, ITW will discuss how it is using the service to enhance its supply base and in turn, reduce both costs and risk, at Ariba LIVE, the business commerce event of the year to be held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas March 17-19. “ITW has 100 years of history delivering innovative products and outstanding service. But to maintain our position in the marketplace and gain a competitive advantage, we knew we needed to better manage our global sourcing spend and trading relationships,” said Ashley Moore, e-Sourcing Analyst, ITW. “With Ariba Discovery we can quickly find, qualify and add new suppliers to sourcing events, creating a more competitive environment.” Since tapping into Ariba Discovery, ITW has been able to create robust postings, which encourage suppliers to ‘self-select.’ This allows ITW sourcing professionals more time to manage their categories. With access to over one million qualified suppliers worldwide across more than 20,000 product and service categories in 17 supported languages and 220-plus currencies, Moore says ITW has been able to uncover previously unknown capabilities of existing suppliers and build a repository of potential new suppliers who can meet the company’s needs. In their initial phase, business networks were all about connecting buyers and sellers more efficiently. “Today, innovative companies like ITW are harnessing their connectivity and insights to enhance their trading relationships and optimize their spend and supply chain,” said Rob Mihalko, Vice President, Ariba Discovery.