Distributor BCN Technology will launch an e-business platform it believes will rival that of Tech Pacific in performance, by allowing both its reseller and vendor partners transparent access to services, support and sales transactions.
After more than 12 months in development, bChannel links BCN's supply chain and financial management back-end systems with resellers and vendors in a way that the distributor hopes will help it win through customer service.
"We hope it will generate new business but it has more to do with customer satisfaction," said managing director Ken Lowe. "Previously, people differentiated distributors by their pricing strategy, the products or their availability. That is still happening to a certain extent, but you can order from anywhere now and the pricing differential between distributors is only 2 or 3 per cent. This is a customer-focused model."
The Siebel Systems platform is one of the most advanced on the market, according to Lowe, with a modular design, which will allow BCN to add more functionality as needed. More importantly, however, it will help the distributor capitalise on customer service.
"Most companies have tried to do e-commerce, but bChannel is interactive with all the stakeholders in the one interface," Lowe said. "This is not a dotcom or phase-one e-business rush. The e' is being used for the technology rather than as a buzzword. We are using it as a tool for our business rather than as a new business."
Lowe admitted he didn't expect online transactions to be part of the company's plans, but he does hope the platform will help the company in the slow market.
"In quiet times, companies are scared to invest in such infrastructure, but because we prepared the platform before this year and we are deploying it now, we will come out stronger when the boom times return," he said.