Downloads - empirica

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Downloads - empirica

e-Business in the chemical, rubber and plastics industry3.3 ICT for supply chain integration and process efficiencyImproving the efficiency of production and supply chain processes is an important objectivefor all manufacturing businesses. However, the potential depends on the structureand characteristics of the respective supply chain. This section explores the impact of ICTon business processes of companies from the CRP industries and assesses where themajor potential sources for innovation and productivity improvements are located. Theassessment and conclusions are based on desk research, case studies (see Chapter 5),interviews with industry representatives and data from the e-Business Survey 2007.A significant challenge is how to draw valid general conclusions. Not only differ the subsectorsin their characteristics (see Section 2.2), but conclusions are presumably differentfor small and large firms. To the extent possible, differences are taken into account.However, some generalisations (for "the industry") are proposed where applicable.Companies from the CRP industry, depending on the segment and size of operations,have chosen different approaches to building their supply chain, linking to suppliers suchas raw material providers (upstream) and to customers, including those within the samesector as well as in other sectors such as the automotive, construction and retail sectors(downstream). Supply chain integration via connecting ERP systems (or similar standardsoftware packages) is the most advanced approach which medium-sized and largercompanies in the sector prefer to manage their operations, provided that businesspartners have the required systems in place. However, not all cases are success stories;untapping the ICT potential to save costs in supply chain operations is by no means aneasy undertaking.QuoteUntapped potential?"For the past 10 years, companies worldwide have pursued the means to aradical reduction in the cost of their supply chains. For a variety of reasonswhile many have made progress, the ultimate goal appears to have eludedthe majority.”Chris Miller – ex-Head of Strategic Sourcing , ShellAs a starting point, Section 3.3.1 presents a general assessment whether electronic dataexchange between companies has reached a break-through in the CRP industries, orwhether manual processing of document still dominates. Section 3.3.2 will then look atthe deployment and use of major e-business systems for process integration and supplychain management, in particular ERP (enterprise resource planning) and SCM (supplychain management). It will be discussed to what extent these advanced ICT systemshave been become affordable for SMEs. Finally, Section 3.3.3 will discuss theimplications of ICT for work and production processes. As the issues discussed in thissection are central to most of the topics discussed in this report, readers are advised alsoto look at Sections 3.4 (on the role of e-standards and intermediaries) and 3.5 (on e-marketing and sales) to get a complete picture.50

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