Cisco has agreed to become an equity partner in Ford Motors' $300 billion online Autoxchange online trading system and will supply a starter kit for the car giant's global suppliers.
Autoxchange was launched last November as a venture between Ford and Oracle to link Ford's 30,000 suppliers to the Internet and provide them with a means of participating earlier in the manufacturer's development processes.
Jac Nasser, Ford's chief executive, said: "Cisco is to Autoexchange what the assembly line was to the automotive industry. The combination of Cisco and Oracle provides an industrial strength Internet infrastructure."
Cisco's network management tools will now secure the network and it will provide Ford with its own experiences of running an online supply chain system. The networking giant claimed its own system had helped it to cut product lead times in half.
Ford spends at least $80 billion a year on purchasing. The total value of transactions between it and the other parties in its supply chain is estimated to top $300 billion a year.
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