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  • 6.3.8-E-COMMERCE AND SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT-SECURE TRANSFER OF DATA AND DOCUMENTS

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  • Secure transfer of data and documents

     
     

    Neutrality is an important aspect when choosing a service provider. Exporters, traders and roasters will generally feel more comfortable with a visibly neutral platform. They also prefer a legal framework in which supply chain participants can communicate data and documents within a closed community, yet within an open technology environment providing more effective business processes throughout the supply chain.

    Individual participants will continue needing to keep data on their own servers and will strive to establish 'straight through processes' to their particular customers. But over time communities served by different providers will require cross-provider links between those networks. Service suppliers to the trade who are active across multiple industries, such as carriers, warehouses and banks, require access and transferability.

    Both the open technology used and the transparency of cross-provider transfer of data will eventually allow companies to interact across borders and industries. Already several systems such as Bolero*, Identrus** and GS1US*** collaborate and promote collaboration between supply chain members, so they will seek similar connections between different networks.

    But obviously such transactions must be handled through a provider or trustee who furnishes depository services. That is to say, all those wishing to use electronic transfer of original documents will have to be linked to a provider of depository services, at least until individual providers can themselves be linked to each other and carry out each other's deliveries, adhering to the strictest standards of integrity and verification of the documentation.

    The international banking community has been using such protocols and systems for many years: SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) and CHIPS standards (Clearing House Interbank Payments System). Today these systems handle approximately 95% of all international dollar payments. Bolero and Identrus are based on similar principles and are logical extensions of the original considerations that led to SWIFT's formation.

    SWIFT is one of the founders of Bolero and Identrus and manages the technical operations of the Bolero system under contract, thus linking Bolero directly into the international banking system. As at mid 2002, a total of 197 countries were on-line with SWIFT. Over 7,000 live users transmit well over a billion individual messages each year, at peak times more than 8 million messages in a single day. Details at www.swift.com.

    * Bolero International, developers of an electronic trade facilitation system originally known as Bill of Lading Europe - see www.bolero.net 

    ** Identrus is a Certification Authority and Scheme that enables digital signatures to be deployed by applications. SWIFT provides network and interface services to Identrus. For more go to www.identrus.com.

    *** GS1US, previously Transora (www.gs1us.org) is a supply chain standard development and information sharing platform, linking multiple sectors and businesses.