Industrial Boilermaker Enters Dot.Com Economy

Although Barberton, Ohio-based power generation equipment manufacturer Babcock & Wilcox Co. filed for bankruptcy last month and is admittedly in a "conservative" industry, the company is forging ahead in the e-commerce realm, announcing it will build an extranet for customers. Babcock & Wilcox is a subsidiary of McDermott International Inc., which had $3.7 billion in revenues in fiscal year 1998. "We've had e-commerce capabilities to a small degree for several years now," says Penny Sherrod, general manager for replacement parts. "However, this is the first time the processes are integrated with our internal systems for true online, real-time customer access." The extranet will include a catalog of aftemarket parts (more than 30,000), real-time quote and order processing, transaction archives, multi-media tours of plants and products, and other features. Hammered with lawsuits over use of asbestos in past products, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February. But the company stresses it is continuing a "business as usual" environment, including this move to online customer service and sales. "The only way to success on the Web is to focus on growing and adapting to customer needs," says Sherrod.

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