Maytag Corp. has announced an e-commerce pilot program that will provide made-to-order appliances within a week. The program -- initiated with Durham, N.C.-based TBM Consulting Group -- will link Maytag's current lean manufacturing to an e-supply-chain strategy developed with TBM, which has worked with Newton, Iowa-based Maytag since 1998. The two have begun a pilot project focused on major appliances supplied to the recreational-vehicle industry. While most emphasis these days is on the consumer-facing side of the Internet, the back-end work may prove even more critical to "New Economy" manufacturing success, says Maytag Chairman/CEO Lloyd Ward. Maytag is linking its own lean strategy to an e-supply-chain strategy designed to remove waste and inefficiency from the value chain, he says.