Network Tools Aid in Collaboration

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2001-08-20

Need2Buy Inc. and Entomo Inc. have each developed software to help manufacturers and their materials suppliers better collaborate and communicate electronically.

Need2Buy, an online marketplace for the electronics industry, used i2 Technology Inc.s Infinite Content database to develop a proprietary content normalization tool that allows manufacturers and suppliers to standardize product names and part numbers.

Need2Buy Parts Cleanser will be available as part of the Westlake Village, Calif., companys recently announced Private Trading Network services during the next quarter. PTN is already equipped to normalize a suppliers component name and part number to the RosettaNet standard, but company officials said normalizing on the original manufacturers part name and number with Parts Cleanser will be much easier since few in industry are equipped to take full advantage of RosettaNet.

The idea behind Parts Cleanser is that if OEMs and suppliers can reduce the potential millions of iterations of a name and part number, collaboration can take a huge leap forward.

Entomo, which provides Web-based strategic sourcing tools, is also working to make it easier for buyers and suppliers to collaborate.

Next month, Entomo, of Bellevue, Wash., will release Version 2.4 of its Entomo SmartHub/Supplier Relationship Management platform, which helps direct material buyers gain control over and manage collaboration and communication with suppliers through a real-time private network where information can be exchanged.

SmartHub/SRM 2.4 has 16 enhancements to help buyers better manage procurement transactions. Chief among the upgrades is an enhanced supplier performance evaluation module that allows buyers to make more-strategic procurement decisions.

Wacker Siltronic Corp. is using SmartHub/SRM for communication between its buyers and one supplier in a pilot project. Tina Knight, a project manager in charge of the implementation, hopes to make Wacker buyers more productive and, ultimately, to build more trust with suppliers. "It binds the two of us [buyer and supplier] closer together," said Knight, in Portland, Ore. "If there is this much trust, youre going to stay with the vendor longer and vice versa."

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