H2O Supply Opportunist

You're only as strong as your weakest link, or so the saying goes, and Bruce Beavis, vice president of strategic sourcing for US Filter, is maximizing opportunity, making sure his company's supply chain is made of only the strongest, most efficient...


Beavis: One of the things we are concerned about is that we would be involved in e-commerce and have our pricing given away. There are any number of internal pieces of information we're not interested in releasing through a portal. And if we're buying a million units of something at a certain price that's made public and our competitor is buying a tenth of that, it's difficult for the supplier to maintain a price that appropriately reflects the volume of the product. So confidentiality protects us and our suppliers. That's very different from the consumer Internet space where you log onto a Web site and see terms and conditions that everyone must accept.

We believe that we can handle that contractually. We have provisions about who owns the information and how it's released, what is confidential and what is public.

iSource: What would you say is the biggest challenge now?

Beavis: Probably the biggest has to do with where the e-commerce space is at the moment. All the e-commerce providers have wonderful plans of where they'll be in a year. But today, they have partial functionality. They're able to solve some problems. They're able to offer a degree of added value. Where e-commerce wants to be is not where it is today. But that's not insurmountable.

The Internet is so new and changing so fast that everybody faces a constant learning battle. And the winning organizations will be those that can do the best job of  internal and external communication. It's a matter of communication and time. 

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