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  • 6.5.3-E-COMMERCE AND SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT-ACCESS

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  • Access

     
     

    The system as described, based on the Bolero system, is not an actual IT application or browser, but rather provides an 'electronic highway' between the different parties in the electronic community. In short, it is open platform technology. Like CHIPS or SWIFT, it  can keep track of all documents transmitted on its system (platform). It can provide proof of who said what to whom and when, and it can confirm that messages, contracts, shipping instructions, sampling orders, documents, delivery orders and so on were received in a timely manner and in good order.

    To access such an  electronic highway participants would probably use accredited application providers and possibly middleware companies, using software that can be implemented as stand-alone document packages, or integrated with back-office systems or enterprise resource planning systems.

    Different parties have different needs, so different applications will have to be  available for banks, carriers, traders, processors and others in the trade chain. Different solutions also apply to different sizes of companies. Bigger operations will need packages to be integrated with their existing software, while smaller companies may not have the need, the knowledge or the means to acquire sophisticated software.

    In future even the smallest exporter will undoubtedly be able to link into the electronic highway, either through an e-commerce site or by simply buying into an appropriate  service through a bank or other service provider. This will certainly be the case in countries with well-developed and easy Internet access, provided customs and other government authorities are in agreement and the necessary legal steps have been completed. Banks in coffee producing countries are likely candidates to take a direct interest as they  then could retail the service to individual clients on a user fee basis.

    To note again though that any electronic document handling system will have to be able to link up with the electronic Bill of Lading solutions that major shipping companies are likely to come up with.