GLOBAL information technology (IT) provider Hewlett-Packard (HP) sees potential in the collaborative commerce (c-commerce) market despite cautious corporate IT spending and slow technology adoption among manufacturers this year.
Datin Lim Bee Wah, practice leader, manufacturing consulting and integration, HP Services Malaysia, said the target customers would be its existing manufacturing customers, but declined to give a target figure and sales projection.
Frost and Sullivan, a global research house, estimated that the value of the c-commerce application software market in Malaysia last year at US$3.4mil; and it will grow to US$3.9mil this year and to US$4.7mil next year.
The Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) c-commerce market is estimated to be worth between US$80mil and US$90mil this year.
According to Manoj Menon, director, technology practice at Frost and Sullivan, Singapore, high-tech manufacturing companies would be early adopters of c-commerce.
Lim said: More and more, manufacturing customers are saying that their IT investments during the good times in the past seven to eight years have not necessarily brought them the expected returns.
As a result, many plan to ride through 2003 with minimal IT spending going lean by cutting costs and consolidating operations and IT instead, she told a media briefing on HP's integrated manufacturing solutions in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
In view of the bleak IT spending, HP believes collaborative manufacturing is a worthwhile strategy as it aggregates costs around manufacturing needs.
Collaborative manufacturing is achieved by a combination of technologies enterprise web, wireless networking, integrated enterprise applications, and supply chain management.
Manufacturers with high levels of external integration in c-commerce solutions have been able to cut costs and cycle times to a great extent, Manoj said.
In high-tech manufacturing, applications such as order fulfilment as well as customer acquisition and retention have gained a lot of acceptance, he said.
In an industry driven by innovation, reducing time to market for new products is crucial, and this is one of the greatest drivers of c-commerce solutions.
Reducing product development time requires manufacturers to work closely with suppliers to root out inefficiencies in design, engineering and test processes, Manoj said.
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