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Monthly Archives: May 2010


Welcome to our new web site – www.B2BConnex.com

Thank you for visiting the new B2B Connex web site. B2B Connex is the number one B2B portal solution that easily allows you, your vendors and your customers to track purchase orders, invoices, vendor scorecards, sales orders and any other document that you want through the web.

Here you’ll find more information and news about the B2B Connex web portal solution, company news, upcoming events and new features of our product.

Please feel free to follow us on twitter (https://twitter.com/b2bconnexportal). We’ll also be adding an RSS feed so that you can follow our blog as well.

For a free supplier communication evaluation, please contact us (www.b2bconnex.com/contact-us).

By admin | Posted in News | Comments (1)


Supply Chain Outfit Starts Up With Some Familiar Offerings | Computer World Canada

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When the Burlington, Ont. company he worked for as chief technology officer went bust, David Kuehner saw value in its Supply Chain Management Software. He secured its rights and now, two years later, a new company known as B2B Connex is ready to make another go of it.

Kuehner said the old company was primarily a consulting business, and didn’t really want to become a software product company. He saw potential, though, in the supply chain management software that had been developed with a number of the company’s clients.

“In purchasing, a company needs to be able to communicate a purchase order to a supplier, and in the past that was mailed, but now it is probably faxed or e-mailed,” said Kuehner. “Those are all good solutions, but they don’t, I think, go far enough.”

After he acquired the rights, Kuehner spent two years working with a pair of primary clients to improve the application, a Web-based tool for purchasing and supply chain management.

The application sees purchase orders posted to a Web server, with the supplier notified by an e-mail with a link to view the order in their browser. Data entry, such as a request for a price change, can be done on screen, and if approved, the change is automatically fed into their backend systems, such as an SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, reducing the error potential that comes with manual data entry.

“The big benefit is things are done correctly and they’re not lost,” said Kuehner. “We’re making the communication between a company, and both their suppliers and customers, smoother and more accurate.”

One of the long-term customers Kuehner worked with closely during B2B Connex’s “under-the-radar” period is Briggs & Stratton, an international engine and machinery manufacturer based in Milwaukee.

Art Nelson, IT business process lead, product lifecycle management with Briggs & Stratton, said the previous firm hit his radar screen three to four years ago when they were looking for a Web-based tool to communicate with their maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) vendors.

“We had looked at three or four different solutions, only to realize that most of them were very expensive and very complicated,” said Nelson.

He said B2B Connex’s application was relatively inexpensive compared to the other competitors because it offered just the capabilities that were needed and was focused on their business needs.

The application is being used at 10 Briggs & Stratton plants across the U.S., and by 20 external vendors. By communicating with vendors via the Web rather than by snail mail or by fax, Nelson said information is received more quickly and they’re more confident that it was received.

By feeding information into the company’s backend systems electronically, including matching purchase order information and fulfillment with invoices, Nelson said the company’s accounts payable department has become comfortable enough to pay vendors electronically, which has allowed the company to negotiate better prices.

Nelson said Briggs & Stratton has been working closely with B2B Connex to improve the product, and a number of their suggestions have been incorporated into the tool.

While Nelson said he did look at making alternate arrangements when the old company was going out of business, including a consideration around acquiring a copy of the source code in case they needed to maintain it for themselves, Nelson said Briggs & Stratton has been very satisfied with the software’s performance.

“As long as B2B Connex is still with us and still maintaining the system, we’re very happy with staying there,” said Nelson.

Kuehner said he’s not surprised that companies have stuck with B2B Connex’s software suite through a few years of limbo, saying that while it’s nice to be able to buy from an industry giant, there are some niches where the big guys just don’t play.

“When you’ve got this kind of a new product, it’s recognized there’s no one that’s been selling this kind of thing for 10 years, so it’s going to be a newer startup,” said Kuehner. “Some people are concerned, and they’ll only buy from Microsoft or IBM, but then they won’t get the latest and greatest.”

Now, though, Kuehner said B2B Connex is ready to take the suite to the wider market.


Call us now at 1-866-317-1951 / 1-470-819-3662 or contact B2B Connex to learn more. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

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Seeing the bigger picture | Computer Dealer

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A former CTO of a consulting company had the foresight to acquire the rights to the firm’s software to build his own ISV business.

10/27/2006 4:46:00 PM
by Buket Oktem

When the consulting firm David Kuehner worked for went bust in late 2003, in lieu of a severance package, this chief technology officer opted instead for the rights to the company’s software, something he saw more value in than the owners.

Kuehner realized the potential of the supply chain management software during the year and a half spent beta-testing with a few of the consulting firm’s clients.

“The genesis (of the software) was in those projects,” he said.

After spending some time improving the application, a Web-based tool for purchasing and supply chain management, Kuehner formed B2B Connex in 2004.

Based in Hamilton, Ont., Kuehner said B2B Connex offers mid-to large-sized manufacturers a supply chain collaboration solution built on two modules: B2B Connex Portal and B2B Connex Direct.

The former module enables companies to share business documents like purchase orders, change orders and payment notification through a Web-based portal.

B2B Connex Direct coordinates electronic business communication through file transfers or direct connectivity from a manufacturer’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to those suppliers and distributors.

“We’ve sped up the cycle and made it more accurate, reducing errors,” said Kuehner. “It’s all about keeping people up-to-date with their data.”

The cost of the B2B Connex supply chain software varies based on the number of documents a company requires, said Kuehner.

“Things like purchase orders, sales orders and request for quotations are modules in the software which will increase the price based on how many will be transfered back and forth,” he explained. “There’s also an incremental amount based on how many plants are benefiting from the solution.”


On partner watch

For a single site, single document solution with a simple implementation, the price starts at $15,000, said Kuehner. But for larger implementations across organizations with multiple manufacturing plants that cost can go up to $100,000.

Two of B2B Connex’s six customers have been using the solution for two years.

Briggs & Stratton, a Milwaukee-based engine and machinery manufacturer, uses the system to communicate with its maintenance, repair and overhaul vendors. In addition, the manufacturer uses B2B Connex to send payment schedules to suppliers as cheques are produced in its SAP system.

Mueller Canada, a manufacturer of fire hydrants and valves, is another long time customer, said Kuehner.

The company uses the B2B Connex portal application as a way to reduce supplier lead times, confirm supplier delivery dates and eliminate price discrepancies.

The ISV is also partnering with software companies like Burlington, Ont.-based Avantis to sell its product.

“We can sell it as a packaged module into a specific market that is already using a known purchasing product,” said Kuehner.

“We’re interested in partners that have an ERP system that our sofware can be tagged along with as a module.”


Call us now at 1-866-317-1951 / 1-470-819-3662 or contact B2B Connex to learn more. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

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Focusing on Strategic Procurement | Metal Production and Processing Magazine

Web-based supply chain solutions frees purchasing professionals from many administrative tasks that interfere with strategic procurement.

Have you recently analyzed how much time your purchasing department spends on strategic activities such as vendor comparisons and price negotiations rather than on processing purchase orders?

Studies reveal that in many purchasing departments personnel spend close to 80 percent of their time on administrative aspects of processing orders for new inventory and supplies, following-up to monitor delivery and resolving discrepancies between what was ordered and what arrived. Time spent on such activities can consume as much as 40 percent of a purchasing department’s overhead budget.

Even if the figures for your department are not as high, it is more than likely that your analysis would reveal that much could be gained through streamlining administrative activities.

To be competitive in today’s metals industry, companies must optimize performance of their entire supply chain to maximize both utilization and availability of assets. Strategic procurement supports maximum utilization of plant assets by assuring that the best materials are obtained at the best prices, and available precisely when and where they are needed. Strategic procurement maximizes availability of plant assets through optimized scheduling, and through timely, cost effective MRO (Maintenance Repair and Operating) purchases.

Strategic procurement requires two things that have not been readily available to metals industry purchasing professionals: timely information about what is needed in the mill, and more time to research, negotiate, and build relationships with vendors based on this information. Web-based supply chain solutions help in both of these areas, providing them with more timely and accurate data and tools that automate many manual administrative functions.

Most companies, for example, still rely on telephones, fax machines and e-mail – first to request needed production and MRO supplies internally, and then to communicate externally with suppliers regarding pricing and availability. Although these methods have been effective, they are not the always the most efficient.

In some cases, different people must enter the same information in different places, which consumes staff time and increases the chance of errors. Faxing can also be inefficient, since a form usually needs to be printed or queued-up before it is sent. During the time spent setting up and monitoring a fax, the purchasing agent might be able to call one or two more suppliers or compare various offers. Then there’s the issue of confirmation. You may end up playing phone tag – especially if a discrepancy exists that can only be worked out with direct communication. This is the type of non-value added activity that can easily consume up to that 80 percent of a purchasing department’s time.

It’s also the type of work that can be reduced easily so that the staff can spend more time on strategic initiatives.

One key to improving efficiency is migration to a Web-based supply chain management process. Until recently, this has been much easier said than done. Web-enabling your supply chain has traditionally required a large investment totaling well into six-figure levels.

Systems, such as Electronic Data Integration (EDI) or portals, often carry with them a significant level of complexity. Beyond the issue of cost, many purchasing departments have been sidetracked because of the technical strain such systems put on the IT department to ensure security and compatibility with your IT infrastructure.

Recent advances in Web-enabled asset management systems offer some relief. For instance, the Avantis unit of Invensys Process Systems has partnered with the software firm B2B Connex to provide an asset management supply chain collaboration module that is readily deployable, and easily links your business applications and processes to suppliers, customers, distributors, sister plants and any other desired location. The module enables secure, Web communication of your data for such documents as purchase orders, change orders, production forecasts, maintenance planning, and order acknowledgement. And, by operating through the Internet, this approach does not require complicated and expensive portals and EDI systems that could tie up your IT resources and eat into your budget. Your purchasing department simply interacts through a Web browser and e-mail, which requires nothing from your suppliers beyond their browser and e-mail.

Asset management systems with Web-enabled supply chain modules improve procurement accuracy by accommodating two-way communication with your vendors. This significantly increases the accuracy of supply chain interaction by eliminating manual tasks, repetitive input of data, miscommunication, paperwork, faxing, and multiple telephone calls.

This also improves communications with your customer. Sales order acknowledgement can be sent directly upon order entry and customers can log on to check their order status anytime. How many phone calls does that eliminate?

This solution increases your availability for value-added activities to contribute more effectively to corporate goals. You now have the time to negotiate with existing suppliers, find new suppliers that offer better pricing and products, or enhance your supply chain management system so that inventory, replacement parts and supplies arrive on-time and as-ordered. The bottom line is having the time to improve your company’s position to provide customers what they want, when they want it, at the best price available.

In the steel industry, where wear-and-tear on assets occurs more rapidly than other industries, fine-tuning your supply chain management is an absolute must for the success of your maintenance program. This improves product and resource availability, while minimizing the cost of buying high volumes of MRO inventory items.

MRO inventory management requires controlling a large number of low unit value items that are subject to unpredictable demand. A Web-enabled asset management system automates the reorder process by using calculated safety stock levels, replenishment lead-time and “available-to-promise” logic based on open purchase orders. This ensures that replacement parts arrive on time, so the maintenance team can proactively schedule preventive work on the assets that keep your production line running smoothly, as well as all the facility components and infrastructure that make it possible for your employees to perform their jobs in a comfortable environment.

From a cost standpoint, a Web-enabled supply chain solution makes even more sense, with a price tag significantly less than the full-blown EDI and portals systems. Rather than looking at an investment in the six figure range, companies can make their supply chain more efficient for somewhere in the low double digits: $20K to 50K depending on the scope of their operations. Most companies who invest in the solution recover their costs within the first year from the time they save on order placement and follow-up.

This type of solution does require some change in mind-set, since most purchasing departments have come to feel comfortable with their system of faxes and phones. After all, it is a system that works. But to remain competitive in the ever-consolidating metals industry, companies must look for opportunities that offer greater efficiencies and lower costs. Web-based supply chain management represents one of those opportunities and comes with a fast return-on-investment.


Call us now at 1-866-317-1951 / 1-470-819-3662 or contact B2B Connex to learn more. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

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