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Business relationships redesign with electronic commerce tools: An empirical investigation

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to understand and provide an empirical illustration for how electronic commerce (EC) tools are used to redesign business relationships. The amount and quality of EC tools have mushroomed and the use of these to redesign and digitize relationships is still a relatively under-researched area. Most of the current research is conceptual in nature and empirical research has rarely been conducted. Design/methodology/approach ‐ With the help of a literature review on EC and business relationships this paper provides the means to identify some important EC tools that can be used to streamline relationships. Besides, theoretical argumentation this research sheds some additional light on how relationships can be redesigned and digitized with a case study from the steel industry. Findings ‐ The case study reports on usage of the internet, enterprise resource planning systems and wireless local area network-based mobile solutions to eliminate extra manual work and speed up order-to-delivery processes in a steel industry context. Research limitations/implications ‐ The paper provides only one case study from a specific context. Practical implications ‐ For managers, this paper illustrates how interfacing processes in a steel industry business relationship can be conducted in a more cost-effective manner. For academics this study highlights the need for further and consistent empirical research on the impact of EC tools on business relationships. Originality/value ‐ This paper casts light on business relationship redesign with EC tools and proposes further studies on this pertinent topic.
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Keywords: Business process re-engineering; Electronic commerce; Relationship marketing; Steelmaking

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 31, 2007

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