Electronics Gears Up For E-commerce

The winds of e-commerce are pushing much of the change in the electronics industry as it seeks to improve the supply network. For instance, to reduce cycle times, slash inventories, and boost customer satisfaction, Compaq Computer Corp. is using i2 Technologies Inc.'s Rhythm software to serve large corporate customers more swiftly by selling directly to them over the Internet. Compaq, which traditionally sold to corporations via a global network of resellers, now offers companies the chance to order online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week over its Web site. The computer manufacturer expects the software to help it achieve a goal of filling customer orders within five days. Another way e-commerce can help streamline the supply network is through Web-based communication of product and technical information. Using an extranet put together by Click Commerce Inc., a Chicago-based e-commerce infrastructure provider, consumer electronics manufacturer Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America Inc., Irvine, Calif., communicates with its network of 3,000 dealers, service centers, and business partners, enabling them to order parts, check delivery status, and research technical questions anytime day or night. "Because of our unique position as the only source for parts for our products, we need to be fast and effective in responding to parts orders," says Bill Lucy, director of IS at Mitsubishi Digital, which makes DVD players, high definition projection TVs, VCRs, and other digital products for consumers.

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