|The use of B2B strategies
to support company operations is not a
new phenomenon. Industries have been using B2B strategies
processes to support the development of their products,
partnerships for many years. For example, the aerospace
been working with partners in the airframe, avionics, and
engine sectors. All of these are members of supply chain groups
co-ordinate design, development, testing, acceptance,
maintenance of products and systems.
Other industries are also moving rapidly
towards the adoption of supply chain B2B systems. The automotive industry has made
inroads in this area.
All of these systems are designed to
improve the efficiency and the
method of dealing with partners in the development,
support, and sales cycles. They allow contributors in the
to view status information for inventory, orders, and
the framework of the production process.
Before the Internet, the benefits of
supply chain management were
considered high enough to invest in specialized networks
and infrastructure to link members of the chain together. The Internet now allows
us to connect these groups in a common system at a
much-reduced cost, and the need for sophisticated and
expensive communication systems is negated.
As many firms have already made the
create these interdependent relationships with suppliers
partners, the Web offers a unique opportunity to further
improve these systems.
Companies with supply chains understand the power and
of these systems. Companies like Dell have united an
with a superb Web delivery system. This has worked
for them, to the point that most of their business is
created from online orders. Dell builds new products
existing customers' orders, thereby limiting expensive
inventory costs and
making it easier
for them to upgrade and change with technology
improvements. They are taking orders for more than $16mn
of products online
their B2B and B2C site. In general, companies use supply
systems for many reasons, including:
~ Reducing manufacturing cycle times.
~ Reducing product development, production and
~ Improved sales and delivery timeframes.
~ Reducing inventory.
~ Increasing revenues.
~ Reducing costs of goods.
A wide range of existing supply chain software and
systems is in
the process of becoming converted to meet Web-based and
browser standards, so they can be extended easily' to meet a
variety of market