IBM is helping ecommerce supplier Partminer to create a Web site for customers to buy electronic components such as semiconductors from around the globe.
The Partminer Electronic Commerce Free Trade Zone will be provided to companies free of charge, but Trade Zones for the automotive and medical industries are also scheduled to follow.
Bill Barron, Partminer’s chief marketing officer, said: "The Free Trade Zone allows users to identify products they need and helps automate the purchasing process."
The site will provide free applications such as bill of materials and enterprise resource planning tools to help with the buying process, but also offer areas where users can keep lists of their preferred suppliers.
While buyers can use the system to trade with their preferred suppliers in the normal way, Partminer will also step in as a backup supplier if any specified manufacturer can not deliver a particular item.
Barron claimed the firm could find an alternative supplier immediately because of information gathered by the system's tracking mechanism, which establishes which suppliers have what available. But customers deal directly with it rather than a new supplier to ensure the process runs smoothly, he said.
The system has been tested in stages for about 14 months and is used by 75,000 individual registered customers, but a fully automated version is expected to go live in the first quarter of next year. IBM will provide the systems and consultancy through its Global Services division.
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