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NZ Companies Cement “Clicks And Mortar” Phrase

AUCKLAND, Wednesday, May 23, 2001: Two New Zealand companies have partnered to ensure the phrase “clicks and mortar” remains cemented in the local IT vocabulary.

Internet integrator gen-i has designed and built a business-to-business portal for Milburn New Zealand to ease the way contractors deal with the nation wide cement and concrete supplier.

Called ‘ClickCrete’, the site will let Milburn’s customers order concrete, check the availability of stock and delivery times, and avoid the time-consuming phone ordering and confirmation processes. It will even provide weather forecasts giving warning of conditions unsuitable for pouring.

The e-commerce project is designed to tighten the Milburn’s supply chain and take a number of steps out of the ordering process, said Milburn e-commerce General Manager Paul Commons.

“The objective of the project is to make the supply chain more transparent, open and efficient.” We will have customers who can see the resources we have to satisfy their requirements. This partnership is good for both of us.”

“Customers get what they need, when they need it and, importantly, we can hold the correct level of capacity to satisfy demand on that day,” Mr Commons said.

“Concrete contractors typically require their deliveries each morning and this can sometime cause a logistical problem. Using ClickCrete, contractors can see the availability of concrete and delivery trucks and plan their schedules around them.”

gen-i’s e-Business Development Manager, Chris O’Brien, said the driving force behind the initiative was Milburn’s desire to give customers quality information.

“gen-i has a long relationship with Milburn and we were able to provide an e-commerce option that satisfied their need to move to internet-enabled business processes.

In another phase of the project, Milburn and gen-i have created ‘SmartStock’ a business integration model that streamlines the two parts of its business.

With a significant share of both concrete and cement markets, Milburn has its own supplier/purchaser relationship. Inventories in the cement business have to be managed carefully to ensure there is enough stock to meet the fluctuating demands of concrete plants.

SmartStock lets the cement supplier check the level of cement stocks of their customers. The cement supplier can then manage the level of cement on hand in the concrete plant to meet the forward concrete demand. The process is described as “Vendor Managed Inventory”.

Under this system Milburn is letting one business unit control the level of stock held in another. The company says that this relationship may be extended to include other suppliers.

Although SmartStock is currently only an internal Milburn process, the company plans to make the service available to other suppliers and customers.

gen-i is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cullen Investments Limited. gen-i's blue chip clients include Air New Zealand Ansett, Department of Corrections, Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, National Australia Bank, New Zealand Dairy Board, Simpson Grierson and WestpacTrust.

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