RosettaNet, an independent consortium dedicated to the cause of developing and deploying open Internet-based business standards for high-technology trading networks, is targeting to have its standards fully implemented by 2004.
"With the Internet breaking down geographical barriers, organisations must have global e-business standards... They cannot afford to have regional standards," said RosettaNet proponent Sandra Morris, who is vice president of the sales and marketing group at Intel.
"Even in a very specialised industry like IT, companies have trading partners in Asia and Europe as well as the United States," added Morris, who believes that by 2004, organisations that are represented in the RosettaNet consortium will be able to truly "think global and act local."
Today, more than 400 companies representing over $US1 trillion in annual IT, electronic components and semiconductor manufacturing revenues currently participate in RosettaNet's standards development, strategy and implementation activities.
The widespread adoption of RosettaNet standards will help to define business-to-business standards for the electronics industry, enabling greater responsiveness, more no-touch transactions and increased cost effectiveness in conducting business with trading partners, said Morris.
Working towards its 2004 target, RosettaNet has committed to 10 production milestones this year. These involve the use of its standards in strategic e-business processes such as supply and demand management and business-to-business integration with mid-tier partners.
For example, RosettaNet's collaborative forecasting processes allow trading partners to work interactively to manage forecast requirements by sharing information affecting materials management decisions.
The measurable benefits include a reduction of inventory throughout supply chains, increased product turns and improved on-time delivery.
Member companies are planning to implement the forecast/response process standard with multiple trading partners each by the fourth quarter of this year.
Another milestone involves the ship from stock program. Today, a large portion of the ship from stock and debit process is manual. This results in costly wages, processing time delays and errors from manual transactions. By leveraging the standardised e-business processes being developed as part of RosettaNet's ship from stock program, companies can reduce inefficiencies by automating processes, reduce data errors and improve cash flow.
"The production commitments represent a massive industry movement to implement RosettaNet's standardised, Internet-based process in the high technology trading network," said Morris.
"These activities show how -aggressively companies are working toward solving critical challenges in the supply chain through business-to-business integration."
Despite these signs of progress, however, Yeow Shih Yeh, deputy general manager of the MIS group in Hitachi Asia, believes full implementation by 2004 to be an aggressive goal.
"With the competitive rather than collaborative mindset of companies as well as the current downturn of the economy, the goal may not be easy to achieve," he said.
Hitachi Asia is implementing RosettaNet standards to communicate with its business partner in the United States.
Said Yeow, "The drawback about RosettaNet is that it only covers the electronic components companies and companies outside of that industry are not so keen in implementing this standard."
"While ideally, it will be great having something similar to RosettaNet as a standard, doing business electronically involves also other facets of trade such as banking, logistics and government," he pointed out.
A lot more work has to be done by the consortium to get its standards adopted. Morris herself admitted that today, organisations are by and large still bogged down with paper work and labor-intensive practices.
This is because trading partners in different countries and even those within the same country subscribe to different electronic business standards.