A New Pipeline from a Web 2.0 MakeoverBy Baselinemag | Posted 2007-01-07 Print
Gulf Coast Seal's Jeff Lynch designed an order management system using a Web-based application.
Mgr, Information Technology
Gulf Coast Seal
Manager's Profile: Oversees information technology for the Houston-based maker of oil pipeline seals, with $130 million in revenue in 2005.
Small Problem: In early 2005, Gulf Coast Seal had more than 200 small- to medium-size customers placing orders and checking order status over the phone. The manufacturer began using Microsoft's Commerce Server 2007, an e-commerce platform, in late 2005 to computerize the process.
Making the Connection: Lynch's team designed the order management system with ASP.NET, Microsoft's framework for building Web sites, applications and services, which builds in connections to the Commerce Server using eXtensible Markup Language. "The biggest thing I like about the framework is that it hides a lot of the complexity from the developer," Lynch says.
New Business: Lynch calculated the labor cost to manually process a customer order at $50 to $75. With the new system, that cost dropped to between $1 and $10. On top of that, Lynch says customers pumped in an additional $5 million worth of orders using the new system. All of that came over an initial investment of $37,000 for hardware, software and labor.
Down the Pipe: Lynch says he'll be rewriting the system's user interfaces sometime in the next three months using Microsoft's ASP.NET Ajax, a new free library. He hopes the new tool will help generate even more business over the Web: "The more our customers accept this and easily enter orders over the Internet, the more we're going to put over the Internet and the more money we're going to make."
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