In a world full of e-business hype, it is nice to see one user company produce some numbers this week, even if they are estimates.
Car giant Volkswagen says it will save up to 50% on its supply chain costs by setting up a new supply chain marketplace on the Web, in conjunction with IBM, Ariba and i2. In anyone's language, a 50% saving means a lot of money.
The fact remains that there is a limit to the cost savings achieved through these supply chain exchanges - and Volkswagen probably feels it can maximize them by being the boss of its own exchange rather than a junior partner in another one.
For SMEs supplying the online procurement exchanges, the outlook is bleak. They will increasingly be forced to link in with these disparate exchanges, which will squeeze their sales margins even further.
And they will probably have to pay a transaction fee to a technology supplier for the privilege of doing so.
Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)
Fashion retailer Burberry reported savings of £50m last year as it began to reap the benefits of its SAP-based supply chain system.