OKOrder Says 'Yes' to Sophisticated E-Commerce

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
Global e-Commerce

A leading e-commerce company in China turns to a more sophisticated technology platform to ratchet up its e-commerce and analytics capabilities.

One of the challenges of operating in a global 24x7x365 business environment is handling transactions smoothly across borders. There are relationships to manage, data to oversee and risks to control.

As China continues to expand into international commerce and becomes an even more dominant global player, there is growing pressure on manufacturers and retailers in that country to execute orders with a high level of speed and accuracy. Any glitch, gap or breakdown in transactions or in the supply chain can wreak havoc with results and negatively affect trust and loyalty.

China National Building Materials Group Corporation (CNBM) is taking note of these challenges. It operates the country's leading B2B online commerce exchange, OKOrder.com, which connects thousands of suppliers and buyers from all over the world and facilitates millions of online transactions.

The company, which tallied more than U.S. $1.9 billion in 2014, specializes in matching buyers and sellers for building materials, equipment products and various services. It is a major player in the Chinese economy, but it also shows up on the global radar.

Ratcheting Up E-Commerce and Analytics

The organization recently teamed with IBM to ratchet up its e-commerce and analytics capabilities. "As cross-border e-commerce becomes the key growth point of the e-commerce market in China, meeting global market demands that know no boundaries or time zones was becoming a challenge, "says Zhang Jingsong, deputy general manager of CNBM imports & exports, board chairman and general manager of CNBM International and president of OKOrder.com.

The firm is now able to use analytic insights to "better detect business risks and determine what actions to take," he points out. It can also dive into critical factors, such as delayed shipments or suppliers that are underperforming or not meeting the terms of a contract—and then take corrective action.

The e-commerce platform delivers insights by integrating data from the overseas warehouses where the company stores building materials, and tying the data into its logistics system so that it can monitor the status of contracts on a real-time basis. This, in turn, generates data that allows OKOrder.com to assess conditions and receive alerts for any type of business risk.

It also improves supply chain efficiency and provide complete visibility into supplier performance. In addition, the exchange can drill down into internal processes and spending patterns and achieve greater insights into various other aspects of global operations.

All of this, Jingsong says, will help OKOrder.com maintain—and hopefully improve—its margins and build on its brand name in an increasingly competitive environment. The goal is to take a more holistic approach to the customer experience and build more flawless buying capabilities for customers in any country.

However, the e-commerce system will also help the company cope with increasingly complex regulations. These vary greatly across regions and countries, and they are magnified by rapidly changing markets and conditions.

"Global commerce and trade are at an inflection point where boundaries are no longer a factor to truly scale and have a global presence," Jingsong says. "But with all that comes the responsibility to deliver a seamless experience for clients."

This article was originally published on 2015-07-20
Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).
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