Asia Pacific not ready for B2B: PwC

Most companies in the Asia Pacifc need to revamp internal procedures to exploit the benefits of B2B electronic commerce.

Lead partner of management consulting services in the Asia Pacific for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Patrick Medley, said.

Many companies lack standardisation, have little idea of what is happening in their supply chain and rely on inadequate back-end systems - all of which hamper efforts to use B2B commerce effectively.

"I am staggered how many Asian organisations call a widget by one name in Australia and call it something else in India," he said.

Medley also said that Asian companies should test the B2B waters, even though the majority of electronic marketplaces and exchanges are expected to disappear within a few years.

"Companies should play around with setting up private exchanges," he said. "That way they can get more visibility into their supply chain and work out how to collaborate with suppliers and buyers."

Medley believes that there will be extensive consolidation among public B2B exchanges and that activity will continue to move to private exchanges -- those set up by a particular company to support its operations and keep in touch with suppliers and buyers.

"An awful lot of exchanges in Asia are struggling," he said. "It's about acquiring critical mass, about making connections. Some exchanges were forced to look at trying to make a profit very early on and it is hard to do the two things at the same time."

Medley said that perhaps just one exchange per vertical industry will survive and perhaps one horizontal exchange per geographical area. Those that do emerge will be large and powerful, he said.

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