As manufacturers begin to ramp up production in anticipation of global economic recovery, e-commerce has become a critical tool in regaining a competitive edge by providing efficiencies for buyers and sellers throughout the supply chain, according to Shelley Bausch, vice president and executive director of the XIAMETER web-enabled brand of Dow Corning.
"To be able to compare prices, place orders and check order status at any time of the day or night from anywhere in the world presents a tremendous advantage in a global marketplace with uncertain economic conditions," Bausch said. "E-commerce in the chemical industry is an efficient streamlined way of buying and selling that has direct impact on the bottom line."
The XIAMETER business model has been an example of e-commerce best practices since it was launched in 2002 by Dow Corning to service customers who wanted and needed round-the-clock, market-driven pricing for standard silicone products. These materials are widely used as performance enhancers by multiple industries, including personal care, textiles, construction, automotive and more, where they provide qualities such as durability, stability, adhesion and weather resistance.
Based on its success and ongoing research of customer needs, Dow Corning expanded the XIAMETER business model last year to more than 2,100 products, a new order entry platform with enhanced self-service functionality, extended volume quantity, pricing and credit term options, and the ability to buy directly from www.xiameter.com or through local distributors.
The expanded XIAMETER platform offers customers the ability to protect their cash flow through flexible payment options which can be modified each time a customer places an order. A customer may need up to two months to pay for a purchase in times when preserving cash is important or they may choose to pay within 15 days when they want to take a discount.
Customers can control inventory costs by allowing to choose the most appropriate price tier based on the amount of volume they want to purchase. When their inventory costs are low, they can choose to take advantage of lower prices through higher volume purchases, or vice versa when their inventory costs are higher.
Because the XIAMETER business model offers market-based pricing, customers can take advantage of sourcing more volume through www.xiameter.com when prices are low. Customers can also secure on-line supply agreements or take advantage of product family discounts at any time to help capture savings.
"Protecting cash flow, managing inventories, and capturing savings will be a success criteria as businesses and economies recover," Bausch said. "Ultimately, a supplier gains a competitive advantage by helping its customers gain their own competitive advantage. By understanding your customer's needs and adopting business model innovations that provide efficiency and options, you will be in a better position to secure that advantage."
To hear more from Shelley Bausch, watch the video on the Dow Corning YouTube page.