by June 7, 2002 0 comments

Though the dot-com boom is dead, e-business definitely isn’t. The Internet is providing a lot of value in the B2B space, whether it is cutting transaction costs, or integrating your systems with those of your suppliers or customers. In the same vein, Godrej Infotech has brought in two solutions–Web-based procurement system (WBPS) and Web-based distribution system (WBDS) to automate these two processes in your organization. Both systems integrate with your existing ERP or legacy systems. Connectors are currently available for Baan’s ERP, and others can be developed on demand.

Setup details
Both systems have to be installed on your Web server. You need at least a PIII-based server running Win NT/2000 with 512 MB RAM. You should also have a SQL database and JRun 3.0 or above. Alternatively, you can host the solution on Godrej Infotech’s Web server, for a price, of course, in which case you only need a PC with 32 MB RAM, IE 5.0 or above, and Net connectivity. On the client end, your supplier or distributor, as the case may be, only needs IE 5.0 or above and Internet connectivity.

Procuring online
WBPS lets you do both parts of the procurement process–contact suppliers, ask them for RFQs (Request for Quotations) or set up a reverse auction, and then actually purchase material.

Set up a reverse auction
To create a market and invite suppliers, you as the buyer can send them an e-mail stating your requirement and reserve price, and inviting them to send quotations or join in the reverse auction. This e-mail can have attachments as well, say specifications or sketches. WBPS takes your database of suppliers automatically from your ERP system, and sends them this mail. You can also invite suppliers not in your database–the system will assign ‘guest supplier’ login IDs to them.

In case of a reverse auction, you can also mention your reserve price in the mail, and the time and date of the auction. The price can be divided into various components–basic price, taxes, transportation, duty, etc. The mail will also contain that supplier’s user ID and password, automatically generated by WBPS. Suppliers can send you an acknowledgement of the e-mail.

To set up the reverse auction, you give the system your reserve price, and the decremental factor in various slabs. You can have three slabs at most. You can also set up auctions in various categories at the same time, and invite your suppliers for either or all auctions. In both cases, suppliers get a single login ID. 

You can set up FAQs for suppliers, and there’s also a notice board for any messages you want to post. Suppliers can also communicate with you in real-time through the system.

Once the auction is on, you can monitor it in real time, and identify suspicious bids. You can also view various reports like markets that are open, markets closing on that day, and so on. Data can also be exported to MS Excel for further analysis.

Purchase material
Once you’ve identified a supplier, you can place your order and desired delivery schedule through your ERP system, and it’ll be available to your supplier through WBPS. The supplier can similarly let you know whether he can adhere to the schedule and any delays in the same, when he’s dispatched the goods to your stores, and when he’s sent the invoice. When your stores receive these goods and feed this information into your ERP; and accounts receives the invoice and feeds into the ERP when and how payment was made, WBPS takes these details, and your supplier can access them from its interface. This makes life simpler
for all concerned, and saves a lot of time in follow-ups on both ends. 

Online distribution
WBDS lets you share information about the status of orders your dealers have booked on you. 

You can put your catalog and other product details online, and dealers can browse through these before placing their order.

Dealers then have to register with their details and the system will assign them a login ID and password after their credentials have been checked. The dealer’s organization can have a master login for all their business lines if they deal with you in more than one. 

Once they’re logged in, they can view your inventory status and production schedules, taken from your legacy or ERP systems. This helps them to make a further commitment to their buyers. Like in the case of WBPS, you can communicate to the dealer through FAQs or the notice board, and two-way real-time communication is also possible.

A dealer can place orders through the site, and view its status online–whether the system has acknowledged their order, where inside the organization his order has reached, when he can expect delivery, when goods were dispatched, when invoice was sent to him, and so on. He can use querying to search for his orders if he’s booked more than one. Similarly, once he’s made the payment, he can track its status and when you’ve received it. All this information is taken by WBDS from your internal ERP or equivalent system. 

The next planned version of WBDS will also build in dealer forecasting, that lets dealers inform you how much material they expect to consume, so you can plan your schedules and inventory accordingly.

Price: Rs 500,000 each for 15-16 concurrent users (WBPS and WBDS). Since both are standalone, you can buy the one that serves your needs best

Contact: Ashwin Mistry, Godrej Infotech, Mumbai. Tel: 022-5964004. E-mail: am@godrej. com RQS# E25

Pragya Madan in Mumbai

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