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E-Business has become a fact for almost all companies. But what are the key technologies for economically successful e-commerce? In this book readers will find all concepts that will coin tomorrow’s e-business: virtual sales assistants (shopbots), personalized web pages, electronic market places, vendor managed inventory, virtual organizations, supply chain management. Both technical and economic issues of these concepts are discussed in detail. Leading-edge real world applications are presented that will shape e-business mid-term.

This book is a must-read for managers or technical consultants as well as researchers needing in-depth information for strategic business decisions.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

E-Business — State of the Art and Trends

Frontmatter

1. E-Business Principles, Trends and Visions

Abstract
Supply chain management (SCM) and e-business are changing the way businesses operate. E-business has become an integral part of supply chain management and has become a powerful and compelling enabler of supply chain integration across a wide range of industries. As a result of e-business, successful organisations are those that can collaborate and work openly across virtual global networks, linking members of a supply chain. E-business approaches can go a long way towards fostering the necessary level of trust and commitment required to achieve not only the technology commitment for supply chain integration but also the organisational co-operation that is required. This chapter introduces e-business and explores the principles, trends and visions for organisations wishing to operate in a digital environment.
J. Browne, P. Higgins, I. Hunt

2. Emerging Concepts in E-Business and Extended Products

Abstract
To compete in the competitive global marketplace, manufacturers and suppliers have to come up with novel ways of forming alliances to sell their wares. The extended and virtual enterprise concepts have been acknowledged as important paradigms in the modern business environment. Information and communication technologies and the developments around the Internet have brought these issues into sharp focus for managers and researchers alike. Additionally, the success of the Internet has triggered the evolution of a variety of e-phenomena that has helped the evolution of many new ideas and strategies in order to improve the everyday business processes of an enterprise. Buzzwords such as e-commerce, e-business and e-procurement illustrate this trend. Consequently, the analysis of networks and the opportunities to produce products in a collaborative way has become a key issue for both practitioners and researchers.
The new business processes and services resulting from these efforts have elicited the evolution of novel concepts in the selling of wares. One such novelty is the concept of packaging core products with additional services to make the overall package more attractive to the prospective customer. This comprehensive packaging, which we term extended products, consists of tangible core (manufactured) products and additional, intangible components. It should also be noted that there is no restriction of the proportions of tangible and intangible components within an extended product. There is no reason why these intangible additions/extensions cannot have more value than the tangible product itself. Furthermore, the formation of extended products is driven not solely by competitive pressures. Legislative pressures, such as those arising out of environmental concerns, are also shifting the responsibility for the life cycle of a product from society at large to the manufacturers. As a consequence, new extended products concepts have evolved that package end-of-life take-back and consequential recycling into the core product.
This chapter discusses the drivers for the development of extended products and why it is necessary for manufacturers and suppliers to form formal alliances in order to reliably supply a comprehensive set of extended products. The very first general model of an extended product is also developed.
Klaus-Dieter Thoben, Jens Eschenbächer, Harinder S. Jagdev

3. The Dynamic Networked Organization: A New Paradigm that is Here to Stay?

Abstract
This chapter compares the current evolution towards dynamic networked organisations with the important enterprise and technology related changes that occurred in the last century. Clear advantages of this new organisational format, based on findings made in research projects and experiences from early adopters, have been illustrated.
Florent Frederix

4. Transactions in E-Procurement

Abstract
This chapter considers the current work in e-procurement and the issues deriving from the moves towards greater use of information and communication technology in business. We first consider the context for e-procurement and the drivers pushing the developments. Then we consider the approaches in use in various projects and developments and, finally, we offer a potential solution strategy for the problem of disparate systems that leads to their inability to communicate.
Andrew Slade

Advanced E-Commerce Applications

Frontmatter

5. Intelligent E-Commerce with Guiding Agents Based on Personalized Interaction Tools

Abstract
This chapter presents an agent-based interface for business-to-customer (B2C) applications that is not merely reactive to some user request, but proactive and capable of engaging in a goal-directed conversation with the user, e.g. by taking the initiative to recommend new products. The approach combines content-based filtering, where user profiles are generated based on content features extracted from documents that users find relevant, with collaborative filtering which clusters users according to their expressed taste to generate recommendations within these virtual communities. In addition, the naturalness of interaction, especially for casual users, is enhanced by appropriate 2D and 3D animations that express the agent’s emotional reactions.
U. Thiel, M. L’Abbate, A. Paradiso, A. Stein, G. Semeraro, F. Abbattista, P. Lops

6. A Virtual-Sales-Assistant Architecture for E-Business Environments

Abstract
Customer support through virtual-sales-assistants is becoming more important with the growing complexity of the products offered over the Internet. This chapter presents an open system architecture for virtual-sales-assistants, discusses in detail the technical challenges and solutions, and addressed the integration into existing e-business systems.
Thorsten Gurzki, Patrick Schweizer, Claus-T Eberhardt

7. Knowledge-Intensive Product Search and Customization in Electronic Commerce

Abstract
A major requirement of today’s online shops is the availability of competent virtual sales agents that guide the customers through the vast space of available products, services and other opportunities. This function is mostly implemented by search agents that should help customers to find relevant product information. While these search functions are considered quite important by the online sellers, the quality of the retrieval results is miserable [4]. The key to enhancing search quality and, more generally, to approaching the vision of intelligent, knowledgeable virtual sales agents, is to incorporate more knowledge about products, customers and the sales process into the sales agent. The quality of service becomes the dominating factor for achieving customer satisfaction and a good customer relationship. As a consequence customer relationship management [9] and knowledge management [10, 3] have been recognized as core disciplines with strategic importance for successful future business. In the context of companies which communicate with heir customers and partners via electronic online media, this requires one to make the company knowledge available and visible through the virtual agents that are supposed to be the primary access points to the company. This chapter describes a knowledge-based technology and related applications for developing intelligent virtual sales agents.
Ralph Bergmann, Ralph Traphöner, Sascha Schmitt, Pádraig Cunningham, Barry Smyth

8. Lean Configuration: Interactive 3D Configuration for E-Commerce Environments

Abstract
In recent years, marketing of products via the Internet has become more and more important for both customers and manufacturers. Today, electronic shop systems enable people to select products from catalogues, gather further information and, finally, order and pay for the articles via a WWW browser. However, most products sold in this way are fixed and cannot be customised to satisfy the buyer’s requirements.
Configuration functionality, as incorporated in current enterprise resource planning systems as well as industrial product development software, addresses the problem of fully automated design of products according to specification. However, such extensive functionality is difficult to implement, and requires extensive resources to run, and a large part of its most costly features offer no added value in an e-commerce context.
E-commerce and the Internet in general present a number of specific requirements, i.e. lightweight, simple design; good scalability; interactivity; user friendliness; etc. In order to meet these demands, a new method of configuration has been developed. This method focuses on non-automatic, interactive, user-friendly configuration of product variants based on a simple yet flexible method in order to accommodate large numbers of users and a large variety of different products.
This chapter presents configuration concepts developed in the INTELLECT project. INTELLECT, having started at the beginning of 2000, is currently nearing the completion of its development phase. The chapter closes with a description of the results envisaged and a description of the upcoming tasks.
Kai-Oliver Detken, Ioannis Fikouras

9. Web-Based Commerce in Complex Products and Services with Multiple Suppliers

Abstract
The sale of customisable products and services over the Internet is a challenging task within the area of electronic commerce, as it represents an important extension of the functionalities of electronic catalogues and Web stores, which normally do not support the dynamic configuration of the items to be purchased. In this chapter we shall present a case study which shows how the offering and selling of complex products and services from the telecommunication industry are supported within a generic framework for customer-adaptive distributed online configuration. Following the paradigm of mass customisation, products and services are nowadays sold to customers in many variants according to specific customer requirements. In a Web-based environment, the customer interaction with the sales system must be given special emphasis. Therefore we sketch how a personalised Web interaction may imitate a good salesperson who adapts expert advice according to the customer’s interests and skills. The digital economy of the 21st century will be based on flexibly integrated webs of highly specialised solution providers. Regarding configuration technology itself, the joint configuration of organisationally and geographically distributed products and services must be supported. This requires the extension of current configuration technology to include distributed knowledge bases and co-operative problem-solving behaviour. The framework developed here is designed to be generic enough to be also applicable to other industries with similar requirements for electronic commerce systems, such as the areas of facility management equipment and the building and construction industry.
Liliana Ardissono, Alexander Felfernig, Gerhard Friedrich, Anna Goy, Dietmar Jannach, Ralph Schäfer, Markus Zanker

10. E-TAILOR: Integration of 3D Scanners, CAD and Virtual-Try-on Technologies for Online Retailing of Made-to-Measure Garments

Abstract
A number of initiatives have arisen recently in many European countries revolving around the concepts of made-to-measure garment manufacturing and the new generation of online apparel shopping. The combination of these new services has been made now possible by the emergence of technologies such as 3D whole-body scanners, 3D CAD systems for the customisation of existing styles, virtual-try-on visualisation techniques and the new generation of smartcards. E-TAILOR aims to establish an innovative paradigm for virtual retailing services of customised clothing that tackles related problems (different sizing systems, fitting problem, high cost, data privacy and lack of interfaces). The developments in E-TAILOR can be grouped together in terms of the following infrastructures:
1.
A European sizing information infrastructure (ESII) which will contribute to the solution of the sizing inconsistencies problem in general.
 
2.
An advanced customised clothing infrastructure, enabling the ordering and production of custom-made garments at reasonable prices, in a short time and with a close-to-perfect fit.
 
3.
An innovative virtual shopping infrastructure, enabling customers to visualise themselves wearing garments on offer at e-kiosks installed in traditional stores, as well as online (in internet shops).
 
G. A. Kartsounis, N. Magnenat-Thalmann, Hans-Christian Rodrian

Supply Chain Management Applications

Frontmatter

11. Intercompany Supply Chain Management Based on a Holistic E-Business Concept

Abstract
This supply chain management case study shows how Hermes Schleifmittel GmbH & Co. has improved its intra- and intercompany supply chains as a result of a combined organizational and technological approach. The concept of the fractal company is the basis for the structural and organizational design. The change was enabled on the IT side by launching an integrative business information system in all production sites. The Hermes intra- and intercompany supply chain is described in accordance with the Supply Chain Open Reference (SCOR) model of the Supply Chain Council. It covers the customer relationships between the suppliers, the autonomous production sites of the Hermes group and the customers. The implementation of a holistic e-business concept enables an automation of standard business events that leads to increased efficiency by reducing throughput times and expenditure of human efforts.
Jörg Martinetz, Nick Brehmer, Berthold Meik, Michael Arendt

12. Supporting the Animal Feed Industry in an E-Business Environment Using Simulation

Abstract
Recent health and food contamination scares have put Europe’s feed industry under new scrutiny. As a result food manufacturers are increasingly forced to change and adopt new strategies, both to regain consumer confidence and to remain competitive. To this end the EU has funded a two-year project called CHAINFEED, to research and develop a new business model for the feed industry. Drawing upon the insights gained from this industry a modelling framework encompassing a number of views of the animal feed supply chain have been established. Modelling the flows of product and information in particular supply chain scenarios provides identification of critical business process activities. The models established for this research served two purposes. Firstly to identify the main players in the animal feed supply chain and their role in supplying information and product to the farmers. Secondly to identify a new strategy for the feed producers to improve their supply chain performance. The new strategy identified is vendor-managed-inventory (VMI). In order to test the applicability of the particular model identified and capture the relevant characteristics of the animal feed supply chain a simulation tool for modelling VMI was developed.
I. Hunt, J. Browne, P. Higgins

13. Business Model and Internet Broker Concept for Efficient Electronic Bidding and Procurement in the Tile Industry

Abstract
This chapter outlines different generic e-broker models and describes the requirements and necessary concepts for establishing a broker service for tiles and related products in the supply chain of the tile industry. The objective of the service is to introduce innovation into the bidding and procurement processes between tile manufacturers, wholesalers and building contractors. The actors, relations and goods of the supply chain are presented, and the architecture chosen for the electronic marketplace and the support tools are described. The core functionality of the broker service, e.g. data exchange, repository access and negotiation, is outlined by means of UML use cases.
Olaf Peters, Jörg Zabel, Frithjof Weber

14. Dynamic Forecasting for Master Production Planning with Stock and Capacity Constraints

Abstract
This chapter presents the concepts and the results of the DAMASCOS (Dynamic Forecast for Master Production Planning with Stock and Capacity Constraints) IST-1999-11850 project. It is the objective of DAMASCOS to design and develop an open platform that provides adequate IT modules and mechanisms to manage customised supply networks while integrating consumers and their demands.
João José Pinto Ferreira, Nuno Santos Antunes, João Carlos Azinhais, Ricardo José Rabelo, Alexandra Pereira Klen, Daniel Gillblad, Maria Celén

Extended- and Virtual-Enterprise Applications

Frontmatter

15. Cooperation in Dynamic Networked Organizations

Abstract
Cooperation on a large scale between dynamic networked companies has become possible owing to the widespread usage of the Internet, the adoption of standards and the increased information exchange capabilities (bandwidth) of the network. This chapter documents a completely decentralized approach to cooperation (task scheduling) in which every enterprise entity manages its own activities and uses the information channel that has been made available to improve synchronization with others.
Florent Frederix

16. A Web-Based Collaborative Environment for Concurrent Project Life Cycle Management in Networked Enterprises

Abstract
The goal of the project “Web linking Heterogeneous Applications for Large-scale Engineering and Services” (WHALES, IST 99/12538) is to provide a planning and collaborative-management platform for complex distributed organisations working as virtual enterprises on large-scale projects. The WHALES architecture is a multi-tiered, multi-layered collaboration system which easily integrates with the existing applications that execute the intra-company processes at each node in a network of enterprises. WHALES is not intended to replace existing applications within an enterprise, but to functionally link the different companies involved in the project to support and enhance the inter-company processes that take place in such project management scenarios.
WHALES offers a Web-based project environment and a rich set of functionalities that improve virtual organisations, in order to achieve faster and more effective results in the whole project life cycle.
The system addresses the c-commerce market arena, which is considered to be one of the most promising e-business application fields for enterprise value-chain development.
Davide Gazzotti, Mauro Felice, Paolo Paganelli, Richard Stevens

17. e-Hubs: The Critical Role of First-Tier Suppliers

Abstract
This chapter provides a solution for a critical supplier-side problem in e-business. The chapter also describes how the solution was implemented in a large international technology transfer project. The chapter directly addresses the problem of supplier nonparticipation in supply chain relationships and proposes an e-hub solution for brokering transactions at first-tier suppliers.e-hubs are a relatively new and somewhat controversial e-business solution, since many projects that were initiated as e-hub projects have been reported in the literature as failures. This chapter clearly defines an e-hub, as well as the incentives that enable or hinder successful e-hub implementation. The assertions are supported with a case study from a Boeing-supported aerospace e-hub project that was implemented during 2001 in Taiwan. The case study is used to show how e-hubs may be successfully implemented so that suppliers are provided incentives to participate in multitier supply chain relationships. The main contribution of the chapter is that it provides an end-to-end understanding of how e-hub solutions can be successfully implemented in multitier supply chains, as well as supporting that understanding with a description of an actual e-hub that was developed for commercialization on a large international e-business project.
Thomas Gulledge

Backmatter

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