The B2b Marketplace
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
B2B – business to business – has been a buzzword in the IT industry for quite some time but the technology to enable complex supply chain solutions is only just becoming available. If the gurus are right, the advent of this new technology will change the way many firms do business.
It has been said that whilst in the past the large firm was the way forward due to high transaction costs, technology and the Internet has changed everything. Now anyone can compete on a global scale. But B2B will only benefit those businesses that are prepared to share and this will mean revising many long-held business principles.
In the world of B2B you will need to give your customers access to your IT system and work much more closely with your nearest competitors – unheard of until recently. It will no longer be good practice to concern your business solely with its part in the supply chain and operate with an island mentality. Bring customers and suppliers into the picture and into your IT system and the future will be much brighter.
Whilst these closer ties will enable you to respond more quickly than ever before to market changes they will also bring other benefits. There will be associated cost savings which will almost certainly lead to reduced prices. Your business will also benefit from a clearer view of the supply chain in which it is involved.
It would be easy to think that this is all about technology but it isn’t. It’s fundamentally about people – the people in your business and your customers. Survival in the new economy will be granted to those who can rid themselves of past methods and practices and who are prepared to work with their competitors in setting up virtual supply chains. This is all about customers, and they provide your profits.