Eagle Technology has gone live with a Web-based business-to-business procurement system which links customers with distributors.
National sales manager Mike Jones says shrinking margins and the commoditisation of the high-end systems that Eagle focuses on meant the company had to become more efficient in supplying its clients.
"Initially there was the feeling that sales people would have to be involved because customers would not buy high-end Unix systems off the Web. However, even larger systems (such as NT-based where you're starting to get into the lower end of the Unix range) are now becoming a commodity. Companies such as Dell are selling very high-powered systems on the Net. We saw the market moving and decided we had to become more efficient."
Having said that, Jones says because its business is high-end system integration and the site is geared towards large businesses, Eagle knew it had to add a lot of value to the e-procurement system.
Chris Lines, who is responsible for Eagle's Internet initiatives says: "We started investigating what clients need in the procurement process and realised we could assist them from a productivity perspective. For instance, the need to track products purchased against budget categories (or projects), or to assign products and serial numbers to asset management programmes. We've put a lot of that type of functionality into the system. The other part of the system is where our account managers add value. We've put in a process for interaction between the client/account managers and technical people. So a tender/bidding process is sitting there as well."
"The site is a total project management, asset control system," says Jones.
So far one of Eagle's distributors is hooked up to the system and about five customers are ready to use it. Another distributor will come on stream shortly says Lines.
The system, which took six months to develop and was built in-house, is based on Microsoft IIS with SQL Server as the database.
Eagle client Spotless Services New Zealand, which employs 8000 people throughout the country and is pushing out 250 Compaq machines around the country, has already used the new system.
Chief financial officer James Hill says Eagle has provided Spotless with IT equipment and service for four years.
"We regularly order replacement parts for equipment, new PCs and peripherals. We're looking to this new system to streamline that whole process in terms of ordering, managing and monitoring delivery time."
Hill says the system will be particularly useful in coming months when Spotless moves head office.