Co-operate to adapt US Web trading rules for European market

An EC-funded e-commerce research project set up by a host of European firms has vowed to make US developed e-commerce standards...

An EC-funded e-commerce research project set up by a host of European firms has vowed to make US developed e-commerce standards suitable for the common market.

Imperial College and IT consultants Druid are among the members of the Co-operate project which will seek to build on standards established by US bodies such as RosettaNet, which has spent around two years building standards for e-business in the IT industry. Herman Loeh, research director of the project for Imperial College, said part of the motivation for Co-operate had been to address idiosyncrasies of the European single market which had not been tackled by US standards bodies. “You can discuss these topics theoretically, but the real problems are only detected when you are doing things,” he said. Problems which related specifically to Europe that would not cause difficulties in the US, that would be addressed by Co-operate included differences in legislation, working practices, and taxation between the member states. The RosettaNet standard is set to be pressed on to the rest of the industry by powerful players such as distributors Ingram Micro and Tech Data, along with PC vendor Dell. Efforts were made to ensure that there was international input in the development of RosettaNet standards, but most of the representation came from US firms. Loeh said that Co-operate would also improve on existing e-business standards by making them more suitable to complex business processes, such as collaborative supply chain planning. These aims mirror those outlined in Compaq’s latest supply chain efficiency drive: to improve information sharing in the supply chain; to quickly spot and tackle supply problems; to improve forecasting for manufacturers; and to reduce inventory levels. The Co-operate project will focus first on the microelectronics and automotive industries, but the standards could be applied to the IT business after they were developed, added Loeh.

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