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Abstract

Many situations of rapid emergence of a phenomenon are characterised by the fact that a lot of what is written and said is based on ideas, though the discussion may be flavoured by hype rather than anchored in reality - at least in the beginning. Still, there are also situations that constitute real changes. Extensive experiences from spare parts logistics at Volvo are the basis for an up-to-date view of development and use of web services.

This paper provides results and experiences from implementations of advanced web service solutions. The origin of these solutions is a desire to improve process integration between supply chain actors. Therefore, the context for business-to-business process integration between suppliers, manufacturers, dealers and customers is also presented. Focus is made on how the usage of IS/IT and management concepts can give extended reach and create closer customer relationships. It is an evolutional development that has often exploited existing strengths and timing of opportunities provided by linking technology and organisational conditions between different actors.

The case gives a perspective of Volvos global supply chain, aspects of its evolution and findings concerning timing, culture, installed base and stakeholder relations. The paper provides a general case to the discussion of process integration and in particular, it shares experiences and results from implementation of advanced web services.

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