Suspicious Minds

Von Lauren Gibbons-Paul
Der Erfolg im Wettbewerb hängt zunehmend von der guten Zusammenarbeit der Partner ab. Die Basis dafür ist Vertrauen. Doch wie lässt es sich etablieren?

Quelle: CIO USA

Thomas Fisher is getting ready to peel back the covers on hiscompany's confidential information so that suppliers can better servehis needs. But before he takes that big step toward collaboration,he's got to take a deep breath.

"There's some leeriness on our side. Suppliers will need to have a lotof our proprietary information to fulfill our raw materials needs inreal-time. That could be used against us if we're not careful," saysFisher, vice president of global information technology for Applica,an $850 million maker of small appliances (including the Black &Decker line) headquartered in Miami Lakes, Fla.

In June, Fisher is planning to launch a Web-based front end to hismanufacturing system, based on QAD's MFG/PRO, that will give suppliersunprecedented access to Applica's production data. Sharing theinformation will allow Applica to do real-time procurement of rawmaterials it uses, which Fisher expects to lower costs and increaseproduction flexibility. But with that big win comes the risk that theinformation will be misused - for example, specifics on Applica'smanufacturing processes or product design might somehow make their wayto competitors. "We're working on rules and procedures on how thatinformation should and should not be used," Fisher says.

His sense of unease is pretty universal. Seventy-five percent ofsenior IT managers cited lack of trust as the number-one barrier toelectronic collaboration in a recent survey conducted by NerveWire, aconsultancy in Newton, Mass. "It is a tradition that we don't trustour business partners," says Hau Lee, professor of operations,information and technology in the Graduate School of Business atStanford University and an authority on supply chain management."People don't have a clear understanding of how sharing informationwould result in better performance. The lack of understanding inducesfear and skepticism: 'I'm not sure, so it's better not to doit."

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