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IBM, Lead Internet-Based Procurement Service

Seven major U.S. and European retailers with sales totalling $160 billion per year have signed up for an Internet-based procurement service offered by Corp. and IBM.

Supply chain solutions supplier and IBM are jointly responsible for the global deployment of the supply chain intranets for the seven retailers.

These enterprise-wide implementations of the Service are all at various stages of progression, said a spokesman for the partnership. When completed they will electronically tie the retailers to all their suppliers worldwide.

"These firms represent a cross section of the retail disciplines, ranging from hypermarkets, superstores and department stores to home improvement and garment specialty outlets," said Marcel van Heesewijk, CEO of He did not name any clients specifically.

"These retailers have business relationships with over 20,000 suppliers, and we intend to focus our rollouts on these suppliers for inclusion into the Service as well. Based on the firms' individual estimates, we believe a total savings of more than $10 billion annually can be realized in costs associated in procurement related activities, assuming their full implementation of the Service."

John Buckles, Corp.'s VP of Strategic Alliances, added that the service was "a must, not a luxury."

"Retailers are telling us that their sourcing/buying teams are strapped for time, very often caught up in endless meetings and dialogs because they are chasing after missing information, validating questionable responses, and having to reconstruct negotiations with suppliers," he said. "They see that the seamless link and flow of information between them and all of their suppliers created by the Service can impact their bottom line today, not months from now."

IBM said it was expecting other major retailers to come online with the service during 1999.