17 January 2002 | Robin Parker
Purchasers with lots of small suppliers are targeted by a solution from Sterling Commerce designed to create an integrated trading community.
Sterling Workflow Manager for Web Trading extends firms' existing enterprise resource planning systems with templates for purchase orders, purchase order acknowledgement, invoices and remittance advice.
It can be plugged into existing electronic data interchange or XML interfaces and is fully scalable to allow extra servers if the number of suppliers increases.
Suppliers register with the system via a public website and can download customer-based templates for future trading. The first company to adopt the solution is an Irish food manufacturer, which will set up a community for 500 suppliers.
Paul Silvester, vice-president of consulting and services at Sterling Commerce, said the solution should bring a quick return on investment.
"It eliminates paper or data entry from standard paper-based supply chains for buyers and suppliers," he said. "You immediately remove the costs associated with such processes."
Silvester said that the current model can be customised for individual companies.
"It is currently generic because we want users to access as broad a range of suppliers as possible, but we will also do industry-specific versions," he said.
An add-on module for automated payment will follow later this year.