New thesis on the Unitec case introduced near the university of Perugia rewarded with the best note.
The Thesis in Italian language is available in format zip in the download area


Andrea Leonelli

University of the Studies of Perugia
Faculty of Economy Center of Terni
“Economy and Administration of the Enterprises”

The impact of information and communication technology in the management of the supply chain, from the outsourcing to the virtual warehouse



The advent of Internet and its affirmation as mass media and sharing of information it could not not influence the acts of the enterprise, which has benefitted from remarkable solutions that more and more in the time are being found like strategic for some business functions.
My job is concentrated in the study of the consequences that Internet has brought in particular to the function Supplyings.
Function that always more is taken advantage than services of electronic type (E-procurement) and that too much often it underrates or does not come to acquaintance of the solutions and opportunity that the Net offers.
As J. Rifkin asserted in its It Was of the Access: the new computer science technologies and of telecommunication allow the companies to create a perfectly fluid connection between the own activity and that one of the external suppliers: the electronic data processing to you and rings of instantaneous feedback hold customers and suppliers in constant communication, rendering possible the idea of an extended company, composed of customers and suppliers who work entirety in order to manage, in real time, the daily operativity .
The Information and Communication Technology, therefore has pushed towards a substantial reconfiguration of the Supply Chain, which has risentito remarkablly of the constant progresses of the electronic technologies in the jam of the cost of the transactions connected with the outsourcing.
A first scope of elaborated mine is therefore that one to describe to the new relations and configurations in action to the inside of the supply chain, in logon with the several reasons of technological nature and not only.
I have thought moreover necessary to describe several to the instruments puttinges to disposition from the ICT in the development of supplying solutions, which can allow, supporting an exchange of relational type or one simple discreet transaction, the implementation of a E-Procurement of transaction or relational type.
In particular in this last case, instruments like the Enterprise Resource Planning or the Corporate Portals, they decidedly turn out effective in the creation of the extensive company and in that management of the daily operativity, it mentions to you from Rifkin.
The constant technological increase, accompanied from a greater predisposition of the entrepreneur, has created moreover fertile land for the innovation.
In particular I have wished to stop to me to along just on the innovative concept of Virtual Warehouse, promoted in these years from Unitec, an operating company in the distribution of services of supply for the enterprises.
This innovation above all encloses the concepts of outsourcing of the activities not re-entering in Core business and the use of the Information and Communication Technology in the supplying procedures.
The Virtual Warehouse represents a revolutionary method of management of the supplyes to the inside of an industrial district, and is a concept that encloses the elements through which the web it has influenced the economy therefore like the society in a generalized manner: the virtuality and the commercialization of the time and the space.

1. Management of supply chain

1.1 Supply Chain Management, possible definitions

TTo second of the various points of view taken in consideration, the definitions of Supply Chain Management can be various:
the increment of economic and perceived value from part of the customer through the synchronized management of the flows of raw materials and the associated information, from supplying of the raw materials to the consumption. (B.J. LaLonde, Ohio Been University, 1996)
SCM consists in the possession the just product, in the just place, to the just price, in the just moment, the just conditions. (R. Blackwell, Ohio Been University, 1998)
integrated Management of the flows physical and informed to you between more partner than one distributive productive row. (G. Spina, Milan Polytechnic, 2002)
SCM requires to change from managing individual functions, to integrating activities into key supply chain process. The customer remains the primary focus of the project. (Lambert, Cooper)
Reading this definition can extrapolate of the concept that be of the true and own foundation on the which resist one effective management of the chain of supply:

  • Focus on the customer:

The attention is placed to the successive stage of the process of transformation according to an optical of cutomer satisfaction that it sees the inner customer of the productive row like gravitational center of the activity of the various actors in the Supply Chain.
The customer is active part of the activity of the company, and second one logical of kanban, can contribute in important way to a efficient inner organization.
In fact, as Ohno asserted, in the assemblage of automobiles, we can conceive the production process like a withdrawal of money operation, than leaving from they goes, goes to mount in order to only take necessary pieces and single in the moment in which ce n’ it is need 1 .

  • Sharing of the information:

The creation of the value to the inside of the row presupposes a game of square between several the operating economic that cannot make less than a continuous one and express exchange of information.
An instrument that allows to the exchange of information in way effective express and is the Information and Communication Technology, than through its infrastructures and innovations allow to improve the interaction of Supply Chain are from the qualitative point of view that quantitative.
In a collaboration or alliance between two or more companies, the objective can substantially be represented from the cost reduction of transaction, from the maximun of the profit, or from the inner increment of the know-how business.
Chen and have subdivided They the business acquaintance in two parts: the acquaintance of contained and the acquaintance of process.
Before she is represented from with of ability and present resources in every single area she works them, and she can include the technology, the marketing resources, the manufacturing capacity, and other acquaintances she works them.
The process acquaintance, or know-how instead, is created from efficient systems of creation and can derive from the business management based on the collaboration between enterprises, or through the accumulated experience in the development of new products.
Both types of acquaintance shared between more companies contribute however to one better management of the supply chain.

  • Integration of the inner activities of the chain:

The SCM introduces an interesting and innovative concept like the row competitiveness.
More and more difficult E’ in fact to the day today, with the crescent competition due to the progressive increase of the markets, being competitive you to total level without a continuous game of square whom it sees as fine and principle the final consumer (you see fig.1).
In order to put into effect that the behavior of the entrepreneur is in the first place necessary, that it must necessarily renounce to part of its sovereignty and abandon an optical of short period in order to embrace the management integrated of row towards one greater efficiency of the supply chain.

Figure 1: Elementary outline of guideline to the customer of the supply chain

Figure 1: Elementary outline of guideline to the customer of the supply chain

The integration based on the sharing of information between more enterprises door therefore to one better performance of the supply chain. This collaboration allows the acquaintances, to the engineering and the productive abilities to the supplier to constitute input for the process of creation and a development of product for the customer of chain. Direct effects of a careful management of the supply chain, can be therefore:

  • Improvement of the satisfaction for the customer, through the personalization of the product and the reduction of lead the Time.
  • Creation of value for the final customer.
  • Cost reduction of warehouse, producing based on the inner question.
  • Cost reduction totals of production, through the increase of efficiency which had to the integrated programming of production for means of the flows informed you of chain.

Notes 1: Ohno, The Toyota Spirit

1.2 Two models of management of the Supply Chain

In the greater part of the companies, the truths comprised characterize them, are delineate in the time two models to you management of the relationships to the inside of the supply chain.
Models that depend on the nature of the relations, and in great part from the degree of interaction between the inner actors to the chain, which in its turn determines the level of integration and sharing of information between several the subjects.
In the based management of the supply chain in supplying of commodities in the traditional fields, as it happens in the greater part of the present enterprises in the America North, the role of the interaction with the supplier is reduced to the minimums finishes and the customer as soon as she can puts into effect speculative movements with the scope to diminish the contractual force of the supplier and the relative dependency from it.
This model contrasts with the grip collaboration to the inside of the supply chain, that it finds inspiration in the Japanese model, oriented towards the realization of relationships collaborated to you important and along term with the own suppliers.
In the collaboration model, the partner shares a greater number of information and coordinates more resources, promotes the quality and the speed of process in the planning of relations of along term, based in great part on the confidence.
Echeverri and Carroll 2 characterized in the grip integration of resources to the inside of the chain, possible yield from the continuous transfer of information and acquaintances, the key factor of the happened one of the collaboration model.
Model that is taken advantage of particular technological instruments of which we will take care ourselves more ahead.
The model of management of the suppy chain of commodities therefore is used with the objective to contain the costs because of the competitive pressures. The relationships with the suppliers, are therefore a lot limits in order to allow the minimizzazione to you of the switching cost.
In the market of the commodities, the solutions of the Information Technology therefore are used in order to obtain of the advantages of efficiency, the solutions of communication simplified and standardized that they have need of a computer at least standard, one logon to Internet, and browser a standard.
A purpose of the foundation of relations of short term is therefore that one of being able to have use of one chain of easy riconfigurabile supply to second of the trend of market, with of the advantages of cost of along term.
In the collaboration model, thanks to the grip integration and the development of network strategic, the grip logon between several the actors in their typical activity is used like source of every value for single partner.
In this case, technological instruments as the systems of EDI, the ERP or the supply chain portals, represent of the resources key in order to allow integration between the partner. Integration that consists in the sharing of critical information, and that it renders the acquaintance a true one and just input key.
A result of this model of management is represented, beyond that from the cost reduction and the increment of the quality, from the advanced ability to learning of the dependent, thanks are to the inner organization, than to the coming from acquaintances from the outside.
This factor can moreover be considered useful, also in phase of planning and development of a new product.
An example is represented from the Toyota, than with integration with the own suppliers, it established with these objects to you common and promoted the sharing of know-how. The result was not only the important size of new created acquaintance, but also the strengthening of the relationships.
Moreover an increase of the productivity of 14% was obtained and the inventory costs were reduced for 25%.

  • Note 2: Echeverri-Carroll, E.L., Knowledge Flows in Innovation Networks: To Comparative Analysis of Japanese and US High-Technology Firms , Journal of Knowledge Management, 1999.

1.3 Internet and Supply Chain Management

As I have asserted previously, in the sharing of the information to the inside of the row the Information and Communication could not play a fundamental role Technology, that unavoidable instrument sees in Internet one.
Whichever organization from is always characterized from the increase of the importance and the pervasività of the role of the ICT to the inside of the business processes: from those trained to you and financial to that more operated (production, logistics, planning to you), to the processes revolts to the market (marketing), until the more complex processes, cross-sectional and inter business, like those relative you to the total management of the relation with the customer (Customer Relationship Management), to the gesione of the cycle of life of the products (Lifecycle Management), of the acquaintances (Knowledge Management), and of the chain of supply (Supply Chain Management) 3 .
The benefits bring you from Internet to the management of the supply chain leave give from one new rapidity and timeliness of the information, that he is transparent and visible to all the actors.
That not more allows a careful and effective management of the question based on better information and on too much sophisticated algorithms, and is thanks to the same sharing of information to the inside of the row that can be puttinges in motion mechanisms innovated you of integrated management of the stocks, leaving from the Just in Time in order to arrive to the Virtual Warehouse, about which I will speak later on in deepened way more.
However exist of the critic in the supply relationships that the Web cannot contrast alone, and that they demand one deep collaboration from part of the customer with the supply chain.
To the inside of a chain of Internet supply based, it is a lot important as an example, to maintain a sure accuracy of give to you, on which it can make confidence the entire system.
Therefore the ICT and the web like support to the business, impattano activity in strong way on the same configuration of the row, putting it in front of the choices of Make versus Buy.

  • Note 3: The 2ôre sun, @lfa, 18 November 2004

1.4 Make or Buy? Two strategic alternatives

To the inside of the analyses of strategic character, still before that economic (costs/benefits analyses), of creation of a durable and defensible competitive advantage, open for the corporate structure two possible roads, the choice of which strongly are conditioned from the technological member.
On one side there is the solution of the specialization. The enterprise is concentrated in its Core business, that is esternalizza and resorts market pure for all that series of connected activities but not re-entering in the typical activity of the entrepreneur taken in consideration, and not decisive in the creation of value for the same company.
The enterprise is taken advantage therefore of a flexible slim organization and to the market turbulences, and is therefore ready to face in more effective way the negative conjunctures.
Web ago sure the its part, facilitating the entrepreneur in the actions of Market Intelligence, that is in those actions that carry to the finding of the best present conditions than supplying on the market and that they allow the discouragement of the transaction costs.
Supplyings, of closely transaction nature, take advantage, in this case, the economies based on the acquired amounts, and in any case they determine bottoms costs of switching from a supplier to the other.
However, the solution of the market resource (Buy), also allowing upgrades approached them the innovation, it grants to the entrepreneur little space to the differentiation possibilities, since putting into effect transactions spot, these it is based in decisive way on standard of market (you see figure 2).
To the contrary, with the choices of Make (figure 2), is gone towards the vertical integration.
The enterprise adopts a more rigid and hierarchical organization, than but it allows them to benefit of one greater possibility of differentiation and personalization of just prodotto/servizio.
The smaller flexibility therefore is accompanied from greater costs (not in all the fields), had minor to the efficiency of the production process, that it represents most times the higher price to pay.
Company takes advantage in this case, of control exclusive of technology, that he is congenital to the type of activity that the enterprise carries out, through the software use on measure, to times also owners.

Figure 2: Two strategic alternatives 4

Figure 2: Two strategic alternatives 4

The choice that orients the entrepreneur towards one of the two strategic options is conditioned from various factors, that I go of continuation to illustrate:

1.4.1 Descriptive complexity and specificity of the member to purchase

The descriptive complexity limits the convenience of the outsourcing from part of upgrades them customer, and is given from elements that increase the costs of transaction for the customer, in particular

  • The costs of search and selection of the supplier,
  • The costs of verification and control,
  • The costs of switching,

increasing the market risks and stimulating to the hierarchical control (figure 3), that it will carry to the vertical integration. Elements that record in the descriptive complexity can be:

  • Ambiguity,
  • Uncertainty,
  • Risk of opportunismo from part of the entrepreneur

The specificity of the member instead, limits the effective possibility that a market of supply exists adapted to the requirements of the entrepreneur, for which, it can demand investments on measure that they carry to a internalizzazione/integrazione process (figure 3) of the activities, like:

  • Planning ad hoc,
  • Investments in technologies, processes and systems specialize to you,
  • Productive ability dedicated to the customer
Figure 3: Incidence of the complexity and the specificity of the member in the choices of make or buy

Figure 3: Incidence of the complexity and the specificity of the member in the choices of make or buy

In this case the impact of the ICT will carry, in the way in which I will explain better later on, to one cost reduction of transaction pushing the entrepreneur towards one chosen of market.
Chosen that I will illustrate in the successive paragraph (theory of the transaction costs).
The same effect will be had with the introduction of flexible technologies, that smaller specificity of the investments to member parity demands therefore one.
Technologies as the solutions of Enterprise Resource Planning favor, through the fast availability of information, flexible models of production like as an example the Just in Time.
However, in case of widening of the technological base of the products, continuation from an increase of the descriptive complexity of the members, the choices of the entrepreneur however will be oriented towards the vertical integration.

  • Notes 4: G. Thorn, Management of the Sypply Chain and Web Economy, Milan Polytechnic

1.4.2 Costs of coordination with external actors and necessity of direct garrison of the production/h4>

In the appraisal of the analyses of make or buy the strategic of the process plays a decisive role sure to externalization.
In our case the supplying process will be able to above all need of particular attention in the case features of assets that enter in way directed in the production process, therefore various from the so-called the MRO (Materials, Repair and Operation Goods) that is from the members who do not enter to make part of the end product.
They can be considered therefore of flat second, regarding the analysis of strategic functionality of supplying, the analyses of efficiency of the process.
These, even if subordinated to first, play however an important role in the choices of make or buy, encouraging the choice to resort Market in the case in which the costs of coordination with external actors they are not too much elevates (figure to you 4).

Figure 4: Incidence of the external costs and the necessity of garrison directed in the choices of Make or Buy

Figure 4: Incidence of the external costs and the necessity of garrison directed in the choices of Make or Buy

The Information Technology in the last years has facilitated by far regarding the past the comunications between enterprises partner, facilitating the creation of organizational synergies between the subject insides to the productive row.
Through the virtualizzazione of the time and the space it is in fact easier to increase the own horizons and to establish, also to total level, relationships of collaboration with the own direct suppliers.
Instruments loads the systems of Enterprise Resource Planning, or the Corporate Portal determines therefore the possibility of widening of the business borders, allowing one effective organization at the same time.

1.4.3 Predisposition to the automatic reorganization

Together to the necessity of the presence on the market of operating sufficiently valid, professional and it specializes to you, that they guarantee a efficient accomplishment of the function to externalization, exist of the entrepreneurial subjective conditions, that they prescind from with of objective members as soon as described.
The esternalizzazione of processes or functions, demands in fact from part of the entrepreneur, the overcoming of those psychological impediments that carry to centralize in the hands of the subject with of not strategic activities, generating diseconomie and inefficiency.
The autoridimensionamento, represents often one too much painful choice for the entrepreneur, which it stretches sopravvalutare the own abilities, prepreferring a short-sighted optical of short period.

  • Notes 4: G. Thorn, Management of the Sypply Chain and Web Economy, Milan Polytechnic

1.5 Towards the outsourcing: the Web and the costs of transaction

As I have already pointed out previously, the advent of Internet, and in a generalized manner of the ICT, has carried to the discouragement of all those costs that come supported in order to eliminate, or at least to reduce the indeterminatezza margins, difficult connected to the not perfect operation of the market.
The progresses of the electronic technologies continue to compress the cost of the transactions connected with the outsourcing; therefore, an always greater number of enterprises will have the possibility to yield to thirds party the execution of great part of the not fundamental activities that currently it carries out to its inside 5 .
However, it is from specifying that even if it is approached to us more regarding the traditional channels to a perfect market, Internet does not create all the implicit conditions of the perfect competition described from Kuttner: The Internet is nearly to perfect market because information is istantaneus and buyers can appears the offering of sellers worldwide. Price The result is fierce competition, dwindling differentiation, and vanishing brand loyalty 6 .
The web however it has contributed to the drastic lowering of the transaction costs, between which:

  • The search costs: even if however the conditions still exist for which they are created of the price dispersions,
  • The costs of partner search trade them: Internet is more and more means of collaboration and foundation of partnership rather than a mechanism that give life to the single speculation,
  • The costs of communication and acquisition of important information the suppliers: it is easier to communicate and more convenient, and the net economies, through an installed base common, allow the logon between every part of the world. This acts as, also through the element of the connecting between several subjects, from antidote for the problems of hidden information of the market,
  • The costs of dealing and control of the contract, like antidote this time to the especially of hidden action and moral hazard from part of the supplier of the good/service.

If the transaction costs are elevate to you, the Marketresource becomes not advisable, and as Coase, the enterprise like hierarchical structure of commando asserted or, it allows to organize, with greater efficiency regarding the market, the relations of exchange between subjects 7 .
However the hierarchical organization has its deficiencies, in fact it includes of the inner costs, between which the redesign and control costs, than in the overdimensioned structures generate of the diseconomie and orient therefore the entrepreneur towards the market solution. Solution that is rendered sure more efficient, for the reasons that I have hardly illustrated, from the Web technologies.
It is necessary therefore, it is for the company that of it have us of, than for that to the contrary not of ago use, to estimate and to analyze the opportunities that the Information and Communication Technology offers, in order to take in consideration the glares and upgrades them advantages that Market resource and to the outsourcing would determine in terms of efficiency.
All that, above all in the especially in which the costs of transaction they turn out smaller to the costs of inner organization of the enterprise in consideration (figure 5), attributable to the trend generated from the impact of the web on the enterprise, influencing it towards the esternalizzazione choices.

Figure 5: Impact of the costs of transaction in the organizational choices of the enterprise.

Figure 5: Impact of the costs of transaction in the organizational choices of the enterprise.

  • Notes 5: Jeremy Rifkin, It was of the Access, 2000.
  • Notes 6: Robert Kuttner, Business Week, May 11, 1998.
  • Notes 7: Richard Coase, The Natures of the Firm, 1937.

1.6 Procedural and administrative Outsourcing

As we see in figure 5, when the costs of inner organization are greater regarding the transaction costs, the enterprise more efficient resorting Market and therefore esternalizzando will be determined activity.
To this point, that that the entrepreneur question is itself: what to externalization? Which function? Better to externalization the entire function or determines processes to you?
Various formulas of outsourcing exist in fact to second of the yielded business activities to thirds party. In particular, it can be procedural or administrative.
The outsourcing procedural in supplyings the customer consists substantially in delegating to thirds party iter of supplying of the enterprise. He turns out, in fact, that one normal procedure of supplying can succeed in to demand until fifty/sixty chain operations, that they can be involved until a ten of several business units of levels, from the direction to the productive units, for a number of persons who medium go around themselves between ten and twenty units 8 .
This with of the costs elevates you for the enterprise customer, above all considering that the same costs of supplying are supported are for the purchase of matters that enter directly in the business typical activity, are for indirect or so-called materials non-production goods.

Fig. 3,1 Management of traditional supplying

Figure 6: The elevated number of transactions turned to one multitude of suppliers, with consequent overload of job for the administration of plant 9

Just these last ones, not needing in kind of a garrison directed from part of the buying enterprise, can easy be esternalizzati in their procedure of purchase.
An innovative solution of procedural esternalizzazione of supplying is represented from the integrated supply.
Unitec D. distributes from various years this service, with the result to render the enterprises in the phase of supply, and above all of flessibilizzare the costs based on the demands for the enterprise more efficient customer.
With the system of the Integrated Supply the possibility is obtained to reduce the number of the suppliers, of the transactions and the inner costs of supplying.
The system of the Integrated Supply not modification in some way, in the phase begins them, the normal process of purchase already consolidated to the inside of the company.
The demands come emitted and managed like of customary but addressing them to an only interlocutor (figure 7), and contain typically produced of various constructors at the same time.
An other great advantage is the possibility to control, to the acceptance of the goodses, a greater number of positions in one single operation.
To this Unitec point it analyzes to the demands and integral in one the single offer, carrying out the total supply with only invoice, integrating, second the necessities of the customer also transports 10 .
In the outsourcing procedural, the control remains in the hands of the company customer, in fact we can associate this type of esternalizzazione of a not strategic activity and to a outsourcing of base.

Fig. 3,2 Management of supplying with the adoption of the integrated supply

Figure 7: System of integrated supply Unitec 11

With the outsourcing administrative instead it is not spoken about esternalizzazione of simple business processes, but rather than an entire business function.
The main objective of such maneuver is essentially in the reduction of the administration procedures and control of the interested function.
Between the by nature more easy adjustable activities such back solution, is sure the logistic function and of warehouse.
In fact, above all in this within the administrative procedures and of control absorb precious resources that could be employed in remunerative activities.
All that corresponds perfectly to the tendency in action in our more and more uncertain and turbulent atmosphere, to the organizational simplification and the transformation of the costs from fixed to variable, with one always minor incidence of the immobilized understood one them in the structure of the business patrimony.
In this within, Unitec adds to the service of escape of the demands for supplying, that one of the logistic management and the connected administrative activities, in order to arrive to an ulterior applicativo module, that it extends the outsourcing to the management of the warehouse and the data bank you of articles, introducing concepts innovated to you like that one of Virtual Warehouse in an industrial district.

  • Notes 8: They give features to you from the situated one
  • Notes 9: Outline drawn from the situated one
  • Notes 10: Information drawn from the situated one
  • Notes 11: Outline drawn from the situated one

1.7 Make and Buy and Partnership

In our considerations on the entrepreneurial choices of externalization or less a business activity and on the respective reasons, we have placed the enterprise in front of an only crossroad, describing two sun possible options, that is the choice of internalizzazione of the business activities, resorting to the hierarchical organization (Make), or the resource MArket through outsourcing of procedures or the functions (Buy).
In the supplying process we have spoken about outsourcing above all as far as the raw materials not strategic ones for the business activity.
However the entrepreneur, only putting into effect of the transactions spot for supplying of indirect assets, and benefitting of the single advantages of the Internet Exchange (that we will see in the next chapter), would not succeed sufficiently to render the corporate a slim structure from being able to make forehead the market turbulences.
With the increase of the markets the abilities to differentiation of just can play moreover a fundamental role product/service, rendered still more work them from a specialization of the economic actors of a determined field, which allows a more effective garrison than all the technologies and competences.
The progressive concentration on the Cores competence demands therefore a relationship the most possible almost exclusive collaboration and with the strategic suppliers for the enterprise activity, which offers an important contribution to the ends of the creation of the competitive advantage of the customers.

Figure 8: Make + Buy 12 .

Figure 8: Make + Buy 12 .

It becomes therefore of fundamental importance for the competitiveness of the enterprises of a determined field to manage the own chain of supply in collaborativa way, taking advantage of the created synergies is with the economic actors places to mount that with the customers to goes them.
They exist therefore of the true and own conditions that make yes that the management of the supply chain turns out efficient and effective in strategic key for the present actors in the supply chain:

  • In order to put into effect of the relations of along term (non-spot) that the actors in issue allow an effective management of the chain more and more often use of coordination technologies, which can as an example be Intranet and Extranet. Technologies that demand however bilateral investments in infrastructures of the Information Technology, and therefore demand the availability of adapted computer science resources (blot some, software and men) that they allow to create effective synergies.
  • With the greater specificity and complexity of the transactions in a specialistic chain it moreover becomes more and more difficult to choose and to place to comparison several the suppliers. It is necessary therefore, from part of the customer, to put into effect a selection on more levels that account of the effective usefullness holds and of the potentialities of contribuzione to the value creation that the supplier can give, given substantially from the convergence in the planning and production of the prodotto/servizio.
  • Just this contribution to the creation of competitive advantage can be only given with the continuous exchange of information between customer and supplier, putting into effect one careful management of the production process. That and possible so that the supplier chip axes that the customer takes control the know how, sharing is the risks that the benefits deriving from the grip collaboration in the production. The continuous improvement of the actors of the supply chain is in fact possible solo through the constant exchange of know how between several the subjects, that it represents one of the main conditions so that a partnership can be had effective, and several the subjects can have use of a durable and defensible competitive advantage.

Notes 12: G. Thorn, Management of the Sypply Chain and Web Economy, Milan Polytechnic

2. Electronic procurement

2.1 Definition and ambles you of application

The digital technologies represent them one important opportunity for all the corporate structure.
In particular a function that can draw remarkable benefits in terms of rationalization of the own resources and discouragement of the costs is the function acquires.
This above all if we consider that the Electronic Procurement, that is the use of Internet and its junior clerks to you in the supplying process, has concurred to realize in the great part of the companies that puts into effect it in constant way, a lessening of the costs in average that goes from 8% to 12% on the total of the purchases in the enterprises of great dimensions, while in those of piccole/medie dimensions the medium saving turns out of 5% approximately.
Even if the benefits are not resolved in the single greater efficiency of the supplying process, however it can represent one decisive source of competitive advantage for the enterprise.
That has been begun to understand sin from years ‘ 70, when first systems EDI (Electronic Delivery of Invoice were developed in the companies of great dimensions), that they allowed the treatment of elevates to you quantitati you of give to you with greater facility.
The E-Procurement can change the means with which the enterprise it can provision and facilitate it, but however does not change the methods that this uses in order to resupply itself of the materials of which it needs.
The enterprises continue to having need to examine the market in order to obtain the more congenital products and services to it.
Like from script, they must analyze their markets, the inner question, estimate the own expense and negotiate new agreements with the suppliers.
The E-Procurement does not interest the single conclusion of the transaction trades them (supplying), but I use it of the Internet-based instruments you turn to the improvement of the efficiency and of the effectiveness of supplyings it is also useful in the definition of the phase of product development and of the successive production (figure 9).

Figure 2: Two strategic alternatives 4

Figure 9: It ambles you of application of E-Procurement 13

The e-procurement, being a transposition in net of the modalities of management of the processes of supplying and the relations with the suppliers, it allows the much coveted one global sourcing, that is renders the interconnection practicable electronic customer-supplier in extensive and efficient way.
Moreover it increases the operability to the small and averages enterprises and concurs the simplification of the processes trained to you and treasury 14 .

  • Notes 13: R. They curdle, Management of Approvvigionamenti and Web Economy, Milan Polytechnic
  • Notes 14: G. Scot the impact of the Information & Communication Technology on the relationships the supply

2.2 Benefits, the Consip case

The electronic means of supplying, beyond allowing a cost reduction of the matters to acquire, inglobano in if all a series of advantages that render Internet more and more a resource of which the company it cannot make less.
To the cost advantages legacies to the improvement of integration to the inside of the supply net join in fact to the advantages, allowing that necessary exchange of information for a careful management of the supply chain.
Of continuation I go to describe the main benefits of the E-Procurement:

  • Price cutting of purchase.

The first cause of price cutting of purchase sure is represented from the strengthening, which had to Internet, of the mechanisms of market 15 .
The web in fact it allows to a competition and compare of offer between a greater number of suppliers, is premises that total, which are confrontabili in almost transparent way.
Moreover Internet puts to disposition of the means (about which we will speak in the understood one succeeded them to you) that they allow to the express encounter between supply and demand. Means that, like many others that we will observe more ahead, are the craftsmen of one drastic reduction of the times and the distances of supplying.
With the e-procurement it is assisted therefore to an increase of the contractual power of the buyer, which it finds in Internet, like in the case of the integrated supply Unitec, means of concentration of the own question, obtaining reductions in price and economies of amount.
That allows also the predisposition of virtual organizations of purchase, that is of intermediaries who operate in Internet and allow the customer to take advantage of the Internet Exchange, making to meet supply and demand.
Moreover the offer of prodotti/servizi via web, allows one more efficient organization for the supplier, which it can benefit, taking advantage of the electronic means that allow one effective automatization of the processes, of one better management of the order and a payment more express, pulling down the costs of inner organization.
The supplier can therefore allow to reductions in price and competitive being more easy.
Examples of greater efficiency of field had to the discouragement of the inner costs have been manifested above all in the field of transports. Last example is constituted from the creation from part of Trenitalia S.P.A. of the Trenook, whose management of the reservations and the systems of payment bases to you on electronic systems, allows the distribution of the transport service, also for great distances, to a highly competitive price.
Not last instead, the case of the airlines low cost, in which the reduced prices they have had also here to a greater organizational efficiency, that it sees in Internet means centers them of interface with the customer.

  • Reduction of the supplying cost.

As I have already asserted in the previous one understood it, Internet has allowed to the discouragement of all those costs legacies implicitly the process of purchase, that is the so-called the costs of transaction. The discouragement of such costs allows the elimination of intermediaries with consequent logistic cost reduction and of distribution, and management of the transactions.
E’ to emphasize that, thanks to a greater transparency of the transactions, the intermediary therefore is eliminated is in the purchase process, than in that one of sale, with a remarkable saving of costs for the company.
The reduction of the supplying cost, is achieved substantially through the greater efficiency of the purchase process.
In fact with the automation and the simplification of such process, with to a standardization of the emission procedures orders, there is a reduction of the errors and the times of attended for the customer, a faster comparazione and a reduction of the so-called one paperwork that it testifies the tendency to the virtualizzazione of the purchase process.
Such greater efficiency allows a total saving of resources, to pour for the purchase of those raw materials of strategic character, whose process of supplying cannot be totally automated since needs of a continuous garrison.

  • Reduction of the cost of the stocks out and the supplyes.

I use of the web concurs, through the use of instruments of monitoring that allow a better visibility of the production process, a greater one turnover of warehouse, that it can carry the enterprise to a discouragement of the stocks out, and however, of the allottable costs to it. A management of the stocks integrated with the supplying directed one, allows a punctual garrison of the situation of warehouse in relationship with the market question.
In the phase of supplying of the supplyes of raw materials or indirect assets it is also in this possible case a accorpamento of the question that allows important economies for the buying enterprise.
Web and the its applications moreover render the existence of mechanisms possible that take advantage of the concentration and the rationalization of the warehouse resources. The warehouse in fact represents a cumbersome voice for the enterprise, since involves of the fixed costs that occupy resources for the enterprise otherwise usable in remunerative activities.
A highly innovative solution that reduces the incidence of the costs of warehouse in the business management, and transforms them from fixed to variable, is represented from the Virtual Warehouse Unitec.
Such idea, feasible in an industrial district, creates an integrated management of the warehouse of the enterprises of the district from part of a provider of services external, which, it allows the present entrepreneurs to render just the warehouse in assets sharing the lyings, and helping them to create a combined question in the phase of purchase of the supplyes.

  • Improvement of integration customer-supplier.

As we have already asserted, a great advantage brought from the Internet-based solutions is in the increase of the amount and the quality of the information exchanged to the inside of the supply chain. This last one turns out therefore benefitted in integration between several the inner actors through the optimization of the planning of the activities of every company, and for means of a better support to the combined job (as an example in phase of planning) 16 .
This support to the combined planning turns out of remarkable importance when it finds application in the strategic management of the relations between customer and supplier, rendering easyr a flow than information that can go from the planning of the system of supply to the inventory management.
Moreover with the introduction in our dictionary de concept of row competitiveness, turns out of vital importance a coordination between the several inner partner, which can take advantage of mechanisms, like the extensive Extranet nets, systems ERP or the Corporate Portal. Mechanisms of which we will speak in the next pages.
In November 1999 it has been started a cognitive surveying on the expense of the field be them.
Such surveying has concurred to characterize meant to you upgrades them of improvement on the common expense, in terms of savings, levels of service and procedural simplification, making lever on the new computer science technologies.
To the aim to realize such benefits the Treasure has assigned to Consip the task to constitute one structure of service to support of the process of purchases.
Consip acts as therefore from intermediary in the aggregation of the purchases in the public sector, and coordinates the expense using instruments of e-sourcing (figure 10) and operating one radical procedural simplification in the processes of purchase of Public Administration.

Figure 10: Page web of the purchases on-linens of Public Administration 17

Figure 10: Page web of the purchases on-linens of Public Administration 17

That has allowed a general saving of costs, in the first place as far as the purchase costs through the creation of conventions with external enterprises.
Moreover, the simplification of the procedures has allowed a drastic cost reduction of supplying, and has allowed of the reasonable cuts on the public expense.

  • Notes 15: R. They curdle, Management of Approvvigionamenti and Web Economy, Milan Polytechnic
  • Notes 16: R. They curdle, Management of Approvvigionamenti and Web Economy, Milan Polytechnic
  • Notes 17: Obtained image from the situated one

2.3 Limits, the case Welsch 18

Beside the unquestionable advantages of cost that gush from the use of instruments web-based in the phase of supplying, they exist sure of the circumstances that they render I use it of the web highly counter-productive in the definition of the supply relationships. The limits that render the resource inefficient to determine instruments to you of Internet in the purchase of raw materials are to lead back to some, which can carry to a inasprimento of the relationships with the own suppliers.
Necessary E’ therefore, from part of the administration centers them, to analyze of time in time with attention, the possible consequences to which could lead the use of a determined instrument web-based in the purchase of the raw materials of which it needs the company, holding in consideration the mechanisms cause-effect that could gush.
The limits of the Internet Exchange are therefore riconducibili to taking place themselves of some that tramutano the advantages of cost (of every type) of the short period, in losses of efficiency and/or inasprimento of the relationships with the suppliers in the future.
The circumstances to hold in consideration in the choice of the supplying solution more work them are therefore following:

  • Type of the assets acquires to you.

One first classification of the assets of which the company it has need for an effective management of the production is to lead back to the level of participation of the good in consideration to the typical activity of enterprise.
The assets provision to you can in fact be classify to you in direct or indirect assets.
First they participate directly to the carried out characteristic activity from the company and solos to times answer to of the universal standards that substantially assign to the name and address and the level of integration with the supplier a role of flat second, like in the of supplying of the indirect assets.
In this circumstance in fact, the advantages of cost are materialized in particolar way deriving from the Internet Exchange.
Advantages deriving from the transactions spot gushed from the applications of the e-procurement transazionale, which slowly confer a role of second to the quality of the relations with the supplier.
Necessary E’ therefore, to more choose the second shape of supplying appropriated to the good acquiring.
It is not rare in fact that the enterprise you abandon of the constructive relationships with the own suppliers strategic in order to go to search of the advantages of cost deriving from the use of instruments (like the auctions, the marketplace…) that badly they are conciliated with the necessity to establish relationships collaborated to you and long-lasting with the same suppliers, necessary in the case of the finding of direct assets.
Assets that need of mechanisms of relational type, for the strategic of the raw materials directed to acquire.

  • Type and level of customizzazione prodotto/servizio of relation with the supplier.

In the fields to high technological content, in particular, it becomes of fundamental importance to create of the synergies with the own suppliers, that they allow to put in condition the customer for have using of the raw materials or the just service at the just moment.
This need of personalization of the good to provision is had in a generalized manner in the case in which the supply it turns out complex and al same time, has one strongly importance in the creation of value for the customer who from there draws benefit.
A e-procurement of put into effect relational type through applications of Supply Chain management as systems ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) extended or the Corporate Portal, would turn out particularly effective in the management of the supply.
E’ to emphasize that Internet does not change the supplying models, but facilitates them.
The web it allows to find new solutions, new channels, but however the procedures remain the same ones, and as an example, in the case in which the entrepreneur it has already for a long time established fruitful relationships with the supplier is well to see Internet like a more effective communication channel, that it affects in decisive way the efficiency of the management of the supply relationships.
An error store clerk often from the entrepreneur whom it has as soon as invested in the Information and Communication Technology it is therefore that one to chase the mere advantage of cost (pushed from the competition) at the same time abandoning the constructive relationships delineated in the time with the own suppliers of confidence.

  • Level of concentration of the supply market.

In a context in which it addresses to us to a low number of suppliers accustoms them typical of a dispersed market of supply, all the solutions of the e-procurement will not be suitable to contain the supplying costs.
Having little suppliers to disposition, in fact, it is well to maintain of the relationships of mutual confidence, since a resource to instruments like as an example the auctions on-linens can carry in the long run to the rusting of the relationships to the inside of the chain.
I use of instruments web-based strongly has therefore effect on the structure of the inner relations of the supply chain.
An example of failure of the adoption of some of these instruments is represented from the Welsch case.
Welch’ s is one of the greater producers to the world of products constituted from fruit like jelly, jam, preserves, spreads, fruit juice drinks and cocktails and is the first producer of juices of grape of the type Concord and Niagara.
Its direct competitors are of the colossus like Tiny Maid (Coca-Cola), Tropicana (Pepsi), and Gatorade.
Concentrated of grape the white woman he represents a fundamental material for the production of he concentrates liquids to you, he concentrates to you he deeps freeze to you, drinks and cocktail and represents in average approximately 15% of the production costs, for an incidence on the equal turnover to approximately 5%.
The concentrated one is a standardizzabile product that answers in the case of the Welsch product to tightening qualitative requirements that affect in decisive way the juice.
The purchase of such raw materials happened through contracts anniversaries, with definition of the amounts and the purchase price of reference of the supply, and for approximately 20-25 years the society it addressed to confidence supply, it selects based on their ability and dimensions to you (Rooster, Vie-Del and Canandigua).
The three suppliers produce concentrated for fermentation, that he demands qualitative standards less rigid you regarding those for juices and of fact they have realized a new product for Welch’ s, and the alliance was based not on a formal contract, but on mutual confidence.
From the 1998 Welch determined to use a Reverse Auction based on Internet for the procurement of products usually it acquires to you through relations consolidated like those described.
Products which:

  • Concentrated of grape juice
  • Stoppers
  • Bottles
  • Labels

This decision, that it had like objective an equal reduction to 30% of the purchase price of the concentrated one, was tied to crescent pressure on the field towards the price cutting of the end products.
Rooster adjudicated the store clerk, with one reduction of the inferior price however to how much attending.
Direct consequences of this choice, were:

  • Cooling of the relation with Rooster, than was not however in a position to making forehead the increase of volumes.
  • Welch’ s was forced to contact the supplying escapes losing from the auction, between which in particular Vie-Del and Canandigua.
  • The purchase price that altogether Welch’ s was forced to pay was greater of what it had paid before holding the auction.

The case extension a situation in which the emphasis it mails from the enterprise is on the market efficiency and the introduction of an instrument of e-procurement has carried to the destruction of stable and consolidated relations.
A relation of vertical type therefore has tramutata in one market relation.
The raw materials in object, even if was contraddistinta from a specificity and a complexity not elevated, had however one strongly importance for the activity of Welsch.
The auction involves that the suppliers must analyze in greater depth the own structures of cost (marginal costs and wished margin).
In this situation the suppliers must manage one greater complexity that in the traditional relation with effects denied to you on the flexibility and the reliability of the supplier.
Therefore, in this case as soon as described, we have seen as the advantages of short period (reduction of the purchase price) can carry to forts it risks in along period.

  • Notes 18: Case drawn from Some examples of I use of Internet-based instruments for the management of supplyings, of M. Kalchschmidt, Milan Polytechnic

2.4 Classification of the shapes of e-procurement: discreet transaction and relational exchange

The choice from part of the entrepreneur whom it invests in the ICT, between the possible solutions that Internet offers, is tied to the complexity of the supply market and to the importance of supplying.
Circumstances that, as we have seen, can induce in error the entrepreneur in its choice between discreet transaction and relational exchange.
In fact the web, if on one side it facilitates integration between the customer and the supplier, from the other can push the enterprises to put in action typical behaviors of the traditional management of the purchases, that is to choose the vendor in function of the price practiced for the particular one of interest.
That, concurs with the enterprise customer, like if it were found in the presence of an immense display window, of being able to know and to estimate the offer in its totality, or great part of it, putting in crisis, second some, the stable relations customer-supplier, that is the partnership model 19.
As we have already seen, the birth of the digital markets has conditioned them in decisive way the supply relationships.
Internet in fact allows to reduce the purchase costs, increasing to excess the competition in supplyings, to shorten the logistic chains, cutting the several nets of intermediation, to obtain contracts picture more widens possible to the aim to dull more convenient prices, than to realize shipments to loaded suit in order to reduce the shipping charges.
That has made to think therefore to one more and more emphasized crisis of the stable relationships customers – supplying (partnership). Going but to analyze to the materials object of exchange to the inside of the marketplace, we become account that the greater part of the dealings regards not strategic goods and services.
Draft in kind of merely transazionali relationships, in which the activities carried out in net they are limited to the definition of the economic contents and technical of the order taking in consideration investments it does not dedicate to you and specific or it objects common (transaction E-procurement to you).
When draft to be carried out operations of e-procurement having for object material directed (excluded commodities), that is produced goods and services of primary importance for business Core business, the companies addresses to shapes of dealing apt to establish synergies on the plan of the strategic planning and the definition of the final detailed lists of product giving life to relationships sluices of collaborativo/relazionale type.
To confirmation of how much as soon as said, the importance of the SCM instruments emerges with immediate evidence if it is considered that:

  • nearly 70% of the enterprises provision from suppliers accustom them and the percentage is gone around around 90% in the manifacturing field;
  • the enterprises nowadays consider the innovation of the processes, the communication and the collaboration with customers and suppliers and the quality of the products and the services which primary sources of competitive advantage.
Figure 11: Passage from the e-procurement transaction to the e-procurement relational (elaborated from G.Scozzese)

Figure 11: Passage from the e-procurement transaction to the e-procurement relational (elaborated from G.Scozzese)

In truth, various instruments of e-procurement, everyone of which exist correspond to a specific requirement from part of the customer who finds itself to provision the raw materials of which she has need. We can assert, therefore, that there is a single contradiction appearing between the ICT and the relationships of supply that presuppose relational models of exchange.
To confirmation of that, it is possible to operate a distinction between the various instruments of e-procurement to second that the nature of the supply relationship is one discreet transaction, or exactly, a relational exchange.
Before but we go to shortly define the 3 various macro-solutions of supply electronic:

  • 1. E-Purchasing

This formula indicates with of exchanges one-to-one when the supply relationship does not demand a specific investment or not is a common objective between customer and supplier. This transaction therefore is moved alone opportunistic behaviors.

  • 2. E-Marketplace

Marketplaces to are aggregation points that bring buyers and sellers together to created markets for exchanging goods and services 20 .
The electronic or virtual marketplace they can therefore be defined like of the virtual places where the encounter between question of supplying from part of the buyer and distribution offered from the vendor happens.
In these virtual markets the interest of some category does not predominate and there is an open criterion in order to enter, for every group.
In the within of this shape of e-procurement, it is possible to distinguish:

  • E-marketplace catalogue, laddove the exchange is of the type one to many between an intermediary and a multitude of purchasers whom they choose that what to acquire in the within of a predisposed catalogue.
  • E-marketplace exchange, when the exchange is of the sort many to many between many fornitrici enterprises and purchasers who operate to total level through a continuous negotiation.
  • E-marketplace auction if, with reference to supplyings, the exchange is of the species one to many between a buying enterprise that defines the requirementses and receives offered from one multitude of suppliers in contest between they for the award.
  • 3. Instruments and junior clerks you of Supply Chain Management

These instruments represent of the solutions for an integrated management of the supply chain and allow effective integration between several the present actors.
The SCM instruments answer in practical to the felt requirement of sharings of give to you, information and know-how, and allow an approach integrated to the process for supplying, the production and the delivery of products and services to the customer.
A stiff process to the optimization of the delivery derives some to the customer who, thanks to the communication between the various operating subjects along the chain concurs one lessening of the costs of inventory and those totals of production making at the same time lever on the velocizzazione of the flow of goodses with the inside of the production process and connected interaziendale informative flow 21 .
Elaborated mine it will be stopped, in this understood it, on some of these models, for which after a first one I point out descriptive of some of they, I will pass to the deepened description of solutions directly as the extensive systems ERP and the Corporate Portals, which more represent the shape evoluta in this kind of applications.
There is from saying however, that they re-enter in this category a great number of instruments and junior clerks you of ICT implement from the enterprise customer to you in order to support stable relations of supply, which:

  • EDI via Internet

In the case of the EDI (Electronic Delivery of Invoice) the exchange is of type one to one between customers and suppliers already connected hour implement to you on Extranet net.
These solutions are sure classifiable between the first applications of SCM in circulation, and however most times, they represent the first step towards the integrated management of the supply relationships, even if however they answer to the simple requirement of simplification of the administrative and bureaucratic cargo of the corporate structure.

  • Consortium Based Vertical Marketplace

Those re-enter in this category all in which, object of exchange to the inside of the row, is the know how industrial possessed from the connected enterprises electronically which they subtend, technological sovente, agreements.
They are therefore the Joint venture result of between enterprises of the same industrial field, the whose objective is that one to improve the own performances and those of the industrial field in the complex.
These instruments of SCM have been devised to the aim to obtain the advantage to take advantage of the sophistication of business and the exceptional value of the know how industrial of the single participants through one tightened and continue collaboration.
The access to the collective wisdom of the participants more has an elevated value much regarding the price efficiencies, to the savings in the purchase processes, to the neutrality of independent the vertical markets.
Through the collaboration, the CBVM favor the creation of industrial standards facilitating the discovery of new possibilities of gain.

  • Private exchange

They consist in electronic transactions of type many to many where some companies form, in via exclusive right, of the chains, that they allow, beyond to the exchange of products and/or services it puts into effect them, also the planning of new.
The private ones exchange represent therefore one effective formula of private exchange of acquaintances between subjects of the supply chain, for the creation of competitive products you thanks to the added content of the collaboration and know how the more enterprises.
Moreover, one of the reasons for which these solutions they come to exist, is represented from the protection of the competitive advantage created tearing more favorable conditions the suppliers.
Ulterior benefits are at the same time represent you from the greater speed of decision obtained with the compartecipazione of the stakeholder and, from minor the risk of passage of useful information to the competition.
Requirement for trying exchange effective are following:

  • Organizational systems of the compatible participants between they
  • Technical compatibility of the systems informed to you
  • Knowledge of the subjects on cospicui the benefits that can be obtained
  • Interdependence of the participants during the life of the prodotto/servizio, from the development to the commercialization.
Figure 12: Classification of the shapes of e-procurement based on the nature of the supply relationship

Figure 12: Classification of the shapes of e-procurement based on the nature of the supply relationship

  • Notes 19: G. Scot the impact of the Information & Communication Technology on the relationships the supply
  • Notes 20: Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, 2000
  • Notes 21: G. Scot the impact of the Information & Communication Technology on the relationships the supply

2.5.2 Intranet and Extranet: the extension of the ERP

The progressive opening to web in its several meanings (Intranet, but above all Extranet nets between partner) of junior clerks to you ERP corresponds to the requirement for the enterprises of the row to create a true one and just it arranges univoco, sharing the information not only with the partner directed, but also with the subjects places it is to mount that to goes them.
It is being assisted therefore to a true and own virtualizzazione of the chain of the value in which the inner system of a company it enjoys wide visibility.
A management of the supply chain is had therefore in which the company it tries to not only optimize its activity watching to the own inner resources, but also with the eye towards that it succeeds it is to mount that to partner goes them in the companies, creating true and just collaborative ones commerce.
As an example an operating enterprise in the manifacturing field can introduce to the just supplying demands for the own customers, permettendogli to avoid moments of sovra or under production and organizing the own production and the supplyes of finished products that they constitute just Core business.
To the inverse , the customer can know in easyr way the productive abilities to the own suppliers and will be therefore in a position to making forehead in more effective way and more aware to the coming from demands to they goes.
The new frontier of systems ERP is therefore the synchronization with the systems for the management of the chains of supply and the value in the optical to create solutions of e-business.
The directions towards which it moves to us, than typically exit from the business borders for impattare the modalities of management of the relations with external subjects to the enterprise, give life to a new model of extensive enterprise whose efficiency resides just in one perfect management of the Supply Chain.
To be on linens and opened to partner and suppliers means in last analysis to exchange informat on with they: if the information are not accurate, the same plan begins them to introduce itself on Internet comes made useless.
For who it makes e-commerce the damage is economic and of image, but for who it wants to use the net in order to optimize the processes that are involved the partner trade them, scotto it can be greater.

2.5 Towards one net of synergies: the extensive ERP and the Corporate Portals

2.5.1 Definition and advantages of the systems of Enterprise Resource Planning

For systems of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) one agrees with of applications software, functional complete, whose they give to you are integrated in a database dawned in real time22.
The ERP distinguish therefore from the managerial normal schools software, whose range is decidedly little wide one and limited to little specific activities (like as an example the accounting, the management of the orders, etc…).
Moreover the managerial one is not based on a database relational, founded on they give to you univoci for the processes governs you from the software, and to the contrary of systems ERP it does not possess a visiona integrated of all the business system.
The business activities them business-to-business and business-to-consumer they do not mark the overcoming of the business ERP, but they must some be supported.
On the push of the Web to speak about classics applied to you ERP has seemed for a sure time, a lot that more times has been spoken about the dead women of the Enterprise Resource Planning.
But more and more us account is becoming that all this is not at all true and that without having an accurate management of the inner processes it is impossible to think to open itself towards outside 23 .
Therefore the ERP in short represents an infrastructure from the solid foundations, than through an effective elaboration of the business data it renders the communication in net with own the partner and the own customers easyr and fruitful.
As we have said previously, the SCM instruments facilitate the planning of the production activities and distribution of the products/services and their effectiveness closely is tied to the possibility to activate solutions of managements of the supply chain that:

  • They increase the row is to mount that to goes them, transforming several the customers and active suppliers in partner.
  • They concur an effective one and timely analysis of gives and of the acquaintances available to the inside of the supply chain

As far as the ERP one is you assist yourself therefore, in years ‘ 90, to a modification of their role that has allowed one managerial reorganization business revolt to the optimization of the inner processes and at the same time to progressive integration with the partner of the row.
Therefore in markets and complex atmospheres more and more competiti to you and, to have use of systems of Enterprise Resource Planning it increases to you or extended, it more and more constitutes a point of arrival for the efficient enterprise that it wants at the same time to contribute and to have use of one creation of value deriving from the mutual collaboration to the inside of the Supply Chain (figure 13).
With reference to figure 13, the development of integrated management systems of the supply, as they can be systems ERP, it passes through of is made following:

  1. Saving of costs with the Information Technology: the use of models ERP base allows the simplification of the business operations, limiting the cartacea documentation and automating the management activity, with a discouragement of remarkable the managed costs to you and of management. Moreover with I use it of ulterior instruments bases to you on the web, the enterprise can have use of all the advantages deriving from the Internet exchange (discouragement of the costs, etc…).
  2. Efficiency of process: I use of systems automates you of planning of the clean resources allows of the gain in efficiency for the enterprise. This greater efficiency will be therefore decisive in order to free from new the administrative activity and of management resources to assign to Core business or to the implementation of new technologies.
  3. Effectiveness of process: the increase of the systems of Enterprise Resource Planning towards the actors you mail to mount and to greater effectiveness of the production process through the key of time of the sharing goes them of the supply chain concurs to catch up one of gives to you, information and acquaintances. The greater effectiveness associated to the inner collaboration in the row allows a greater competitiveness that is not only of the single company, but that it belongs to the entire integrated system.
Figure 13: the evolution of systems ERP

Figure 13: the evolution of systems ERP

An error that is often committed, above all in the small and averages enterprises, is that one to consider expensive and sophisticated systems ERP too much for the own activity, and therefore not to take them in consideration.
They are therefore very little the PMI that assert to have installed one of these systems, the others withdraw on one of many the managerial presents on the market.
Error that becomes dangerous for the effectiveness of the business management in the case in which the entrepreneur management of the Supply Chain based on the aid of instruments of the ICT puts into effect one.
In fact we have seen previously, as management of the chain of supply based on Internet, and founded on the collaboration and the sharing of information is important for one, the accuracy of the data.
The approach integrated contained in the ERP concurs to obtain of gives to you more answering to truth, since takes in consideration the entire production process, and is therefore in a position to supplying information modernized on the effective use of the materials and on the state of advance of the jobs. In a generalized manner, the producers of ERP that address to the Italian PMI follow enough similar roads: on the base of the own generic solutions they have developed packages aimed to you that accountings implement the classic functions of management (, warehouse, orders…) and a reduced number of accessory functions, specific for industrial field (manufacturing, chemical, retail…) or in order to qualify one particular activity (typical case: the sale on the Web).
The main advantage of this approach is that it constitutes, second its supporters, one moved preventive: the company customer is found endured to decide of a solid implementation of the base functions and would have to then find a road simpler when they will want to widen. Beside the simple one database today by now we find more and more often a web server and application a serveur. These instruments in fact, allow the company to open itself towards nets Intranet or Extranet, or directly towards Internet, giving seen to systems of Enterprise Resource Planning of extensive type that allow to an easy exchange of information between the several partner (figure 14).
That facilitates the integrated management of the chain of supply and the discouragement of the logistic risks deriving from one ineffective programming of the production, facilitating remarkablly the job of the director acquires.

Figure 14: The cycle of information, financial materials and in the Enterprise Resource Planning 24

Figure 14: The cycle of information, financial materials and in the Enterprise Resource Planning 24

The Web/application serveur gains from the database gives legacies to the enterprise processes and, lessened, it concurs to use the Web browser like client universal.
In truth the possibilities offered from application a serveur are greater and are tied to the ability to execute Java applications directly on the serveur that manages gives (the so-called ones to you servlet) or in net, in order to even concur interrogations in real time through the Web. How much these possibilities are developed and usable it depends obviously on the single architectures, but the trend consolidated this appears 25 .

  • Notes 22: Definition from part of the Federation of Digital Economy
  • Notes 23: Francisco Pignatelli, the e-business is after the ERP
  • Notes 24: Outline drawn from the situated one
  • Notes 25: Francisco Pignatelli, the e-business is after the ERP

2.5.3 The Corporate Portal for the management of the Supply Chain: Definition and roles

The Corporate Portal is of the points of access to the applications of e-business of a great enterprise, thanks to which the external subjects authorizes to you approaches narrow nets.
These allow the interactive sharing of the resources and of the acquaintances pertaining to the enterprise it is from the inside that with other subjects you mail is to mount that goes them in the supply chain, representing effective half of integration of the applications for the digital management them of the business activities, in particular of the supplying process.
To the inside of the Corporate Portal relationships of e-procurement are had therefore of type one-to-many, giving life to a relational approach of along period with the suppliers.
The role of the Corporate Portal has been subordinate to various changes although their short life, and it is gone more and more shaping in the management and the organization of the acquaintance.
A recent advance of their functionality is represented from the ability of the portals in the logon of the companies in net, that sharing of know-how the inner and external face concurs one with the creation of new acquaintances.
The importance of these new functionalities goes more and more coming near to the importance of uses of these instruments in the management of the Supply Chain.
The introduction of these instruments of e-procurement relational has been sure pushed from the new order that many enterprises has adopted consequently to the focalization on the Cores competences, induced from the market turbulences that have made of the organizational flexibility one source of strategic advantage.
This new chain of the value, based on the quality of the relations with the partner direct had therefore need of solutions that allow to work in more intimate way with the own collaborators, and to develop with these, average efficient of sharing of information 26 .
Although it allowed to greater flexibilit and competitiveness, this new organizational order demanded effective solutions to the Information Techonology and the process of creation of the acquaintances.
A business portal can be placed is to the inside of a net Intranet, where the dependent can reperire information easily, it is in a Extranet net, opened to the external collaborators authorizes to you.
The Corporate Portals is not from confusing with the applications connected to it.
They in fact represent for several stakeholders of the access points the key for the acquisition of contained information in applications like the critical Enterprise Resource Planning or other sources.

  • Notes 26: Feature from the search Corporate Portals on Supply Chain Collaboration of S.Paquette and L.Moffat, introduced to the University of Toronto, in occasion of the Second Annual Symposium on SCM, 30-09-2004

2.5.4 The portals and the sharing of the acquaintances

As I have already pointed out, the organization of the acquaintance or know-how, is always becoming more a source than creation of competitive advantage, where for information the contestuale information agrees, applicable and of really meant strategic.
The know-how business it can be divided in:

  • Explicit acquaintance, when this can easy be shared through its coding and the transfer. It can easily be archiviata or be transferred electronically in digital shape them.
  • Tacit acquaintance, when he is esperenziale, based on the person from whose action it derives, and has need of a greater effort for being communicated and being shared, through as an example the learning and learning-by-doing.

The portals have the ability to facilitate the exchange of both the type of know-how, through their support of search and finding of information multiformed, included those relative ones to the tacit acquaintances.
In fact, through their ability in transferring and distributing acquaintance in various location and technological platforms, through a web browser and thanks to a careful architecture of the same portals, these systems of integration of the supply chain create the possibility to pull down the barriers that prevent the exchange of every type of acquaintance.
The key of time for the discouragement of the barriers that prevent the circulation of tacit acquaintances, is for the note represented from the technological advance of the systems of communication of the acquaintances and the experiences, that they at the same time allow the creation, the recording and the transfer of the business immaterial patrimony.
The portals of supply chain were therefore the first portals Inter-firm commercialize to you, and were just with the requirement of one efficient management of the supply chain that nacquero the first business portals.
From the necessity of finding of information approximately the product in the sale, the state of advance of the production process and the availabilities of inventory, and approximately the modalities of shipment and transport in the phase of distribution, the Supply Chain Portals has extended the ability to the members of the chain to the sharing of the information and the planning of the activities, based on mutual collaboration 27 .
With the increase of integration deriving from greater flows of inner information to the chain, focale phase of the process of production like the design and the product development has been offered moreover to the possibility of collaboration Inter-firm in one.
All the sources, are form them that it informs them, contribute therefore to the creation of design and the development of new products and processes, and the key factor of succeeding for the single integrated enterprise is represented just from the fact that such flows informed to you come from external actors, like the customers and the partner of the supply chain.
An example of game of square in the development of new products sure is represented from Caterpillar.
In this case rising is created for the launch of new products for the apparel participated of engineering, in which the process of creation of the product design servants of multifunctional squares whom they comprise employee of the production and designers, customers and suppliers.
Internet makes all the rest creating the possibility to carry out a such game of square, thanks to the applications of Supply Chain, like the Corporate Portal.
In Caterpillar, it is possible for the partner to approach documentations, cards, designs, database, and models of production in order to allow to of the multibusiness teams collaborating in the design of new products.
Huang and Mak have described this as a system of virtual advisers in virtual squares organizes to you in a vituale office, equip with instruments of virtual designs, available for all the participants to you ovunque are found, are to the inside that to the outside of Caterpillar 28 .
The functionalities of the Corporate Portal can be adapted to the requirements of go models of management of the supply relationships.
In the market of the commodities, as an example, the technology of the portals is used mainly like an interface customer-supplier in the sharing of information tied substantially to the saving of costs in the immediate one, like in the coordination of the activities of Inventory Management for the obtaining of benefits of Just in Time.
In the collaboration model, instead, these instruments, with to the systems of EDI, ERP etc represent of the resources key in order to allow integration between the partner.

  • Notes 27: Feature from the search Corporate Portals on Supply Chain Collaboration of S.Paquette and L.Moffat, introduced to the University of Toronto, in occasion of the Second Annual Symposium on SCM, 30-09-2004.
  • Notes 28: Huang, G.Q. and K.L. Mak, Web-Based Collaborative Conceptual Design, Journal of Engineering Design, 1999.

2.5.5 Trend works them of the portalss

Of continuation I will go therefore to describe to the characteristics key that go asserting, and that they render corporate portal one effective instrument of management of the supply relationships:

  1. Emergency and external accessThe need of emergency of gives publishes to you to you has grown remarkablly with the increase of the within of application of the solutions of management of the Supply Chain from the Inter business borders to the partner of the row through Internet.
    The flow of acquaintances and information that passes through the several partner must in fact sure being and protect in its traffic and use, from those who of they are strangers and, at the same time its total is necessary visibility for the subjects of the row that need of give to you sure and immediate.
    The objective of the emergency of the contained information in the portals is to reduce the risk of losses to the intruder, put out of order, abuse and swindle of gives to you present in the systems of management Inter-firm.
    Therefore, when the portals are used, like gateway to the relative information to the company, they are necessary instruments of access that they include means of emergency like the identification and the authentication of the subject and/or the control of its acts. The technologies of transfer of give to you from a private net to an external partner, in order protect the information in the moment in which it crosses the freenet and to diminish the risk of interception and access without authorization of the transferred data, ago use of the so-called the firewalls, that is instruments that allow to approach give inner business to the subjects only authorize to you.
  2. Attainment of the hoped performanceIn the planning of a new product, especially if of complex nature and to high technological content, a great mass of information is generated from the use of simulation instruments, of attendance in design (CAD), several documentations, that they demand important infrastructural investments from interested part of the partner to the final product development.
    The portals that they make from interface these systems, must therefore be predisposed in order to facilitate the transfer of numerous and complex information, without to reduce therefore the system performance.
    To second of the different ability to the actors of the supply chain therefore, the information that allow the collaboration come shared in kind, via fax, email, through the simple ftp (File Transfer Protocol), or through the access to database common.
    The advanced organizations more use however more it modernizes systems to you than networking, also in the marketplace, where they can transfer enormous quantitative you fastly of give to you.
    Often but in the collaboration with the small partner one is found incompatible to infrastructural level. Therefore, in the moment of the choice of partner for the planning and the development of new products, they are from holding in consideration the respective electronic abilities to networking and interaction, since a substantial disparity between the actors in game, would affect in ways negative the system performance.
  3. Operability and integration of the applicationsTo the inside of the organizations that make ICT use, it has been found that a company uses five or more inner applications than supply chain and only 4% are resupplied from the same producer and use only one type of application.
    Two characteristics of every emergent technology are always the sparsity of standard and the fast variation of the functionalities, and this is true also for the industry of the portal.
    However, in the models collaborated you of management of the supply chain it is of vital importance the use of instruments standard. These can easy be take advantage of thanks to you to the technological standards presents in Internet.
    In fact, standards like HTML and XML, to the contrary of the EDI systems, do not demand an only one and common format of gives to you, but they are predisposed in order to support a wide range of type of rows.
  4. Ability to multimedial communication to the inside of the chainBeyond to the technological problems that can offend the effective operation of the portal, are from taking in consideration the human factor and with of not technological members, I am decided you for the creation of acquaintances.
    The collaboration model of management of the supply chain, in fact, demands very more of the simple sharing of codified information. The collaboration demands a continuous game of square put into effect from team multifunction and Inter business for the transfer also of the tacit acquaintances.
    In the systems of job collaborated to you it bases on the use of electronic instruments (Supportive Computer to you Work Cooperatives), remains however difficult to make not oral feelings, intuitions, messages and great part of the tacit acquaintances.
    Only when several the subjects have to technological average dispositions that allow the sharing of this tacit patrimony, the Corporate Portal for the management of the interactive relationships, can allow to an exchange of information and one you communication to 360 degrees.
    It is for that instruments like the video conference, are finding more and more space to the inside of these systems of management.

Figure 15: Future functionality of the portals based on the emergent requirements

Emergent requirements in the collaboration of Supply Chain

Functionality of the portals

Emergency and external access

Facilitation of the access for the partner external

Emergency and protection from the subject strangers

Performance (premise the infrastructural compatibility of the partner)

Instruments of collaboration in phase of planning and development of new products

Transmission of gives you of several dimensions, through more methods

Operability and integration of the applications

I use of present standards in Internet (HTML, XML…)

Increment of the connect with other systems thanks to the portlet

Multimedial communication

Sharing of the tacit and not codified acquaintances

Instruments of communication highly interatti to you

Support of multimediali solutions

3. The process of supplying like service: Case UNITEC

In order to render the reading easyr than this understood i think it necessary to make one distinction.
The supplying process represents only the conclusion of the widest phase than purchase.
Unitec, already from various years operates in the performance of supplying services, placing itself like provider of the same ones and encouraging the outsourcing of the same ones.
Its role therefore is rendered more important from the tendency, in the choices of Make or Buy, to the marcket resource (Buy) and therefore to the purchase.
Purchase that, exactly, sfocia in the supplying process, which in its turn it can be delegated to a subject third like Unitec, whose activities therefore, excused the play on words, gush from a outsourcing in the outsourcing.

I have already spoken previously, of the redefinition of the inner relationships of the supply chain, as a result of the advent of the Information and Comunication Technology.
The technological innovation has answered substantially to the organizational requirements of the companies, which more and more follows the road of the organizational flessibilizzazione, and has worked therefore from support towards the progressive virtual of the business activities.
It is from emphasizing like, in literature, the appraisals with respect to I use of a virtual system are carried out mainly on the scale of the flexibility: temporary of the relationships and speeds of reconfiguration are object it more invocati from who analyze the transitions to you of the companies towards the virtual; in truth but these elements, and the flexibility in a generalized manner, while they can be considers you of the scopes, would not have to be used like term of comparison of the virtual systems against the real systems: the flexibility increment in fact is intrinsically comprised in the concept of virtual 29 .
The already present enterprises on the market are threatened moreover, not only from the traditional competition but also from new entering, facilitate to you from accessibility of the markets, from reperibili products and substitutive services on a become market wider, the increased one to be able contractual of the purchasers, that they decide of a greater possibility of choice, and the suppliers who enjoy markets of outlet theoretically without limits in order to reduce the dependency from the traditional customers.
Of it they achieve new challenges for the enterprises, forced to improve the ability to compete through the strengthening of the own economic and operating structure, the price cutting (and consequently also of the purchase budgets), the quality and functionality of the products.
The fixed cost reduction involves, on one side, the control of the total dimension of the companies, eliminating those structures (human resources and assets orchestrate them) that they are not directly in relation with Core business or the maintenance of the know how, and, from the other, the acquisition from the outside of the goods and services previously produced to the inside.
The organization model that derives some is that one of an organization snella of the goods and services previously produced to the inside and in which, of fact, the processes of business of the company come extended to the outside, rendered accessible from part of thirds party, and conditions in turns out to you to you from the performances of the suppliers.
This new organizational model needs of integrated instruments of coordination, that they facilitate the collaboration in medio/lungo the term between the subject insides to the supply chain.
Instruments on which there are stop to you in understood it the 2 of my search, and that they complete with of input of which we have need in order to succeed in to describe the case of a company that supplies logistic services and of supplying to the own customers, and facilitates outsourcing and the variable of the business costs: the case Unitec D.
Unitec D (High Tech Industrieprodukte Vertriebs GmbH), is an enterprise to limited liability, with center to Augsburg (Germany), been born to the end of years ‘ 80 on initiative of the Italian entrepreneur Marino Vincenzo, that it had matured important experiences in the within of the field of the great systems of automation for the construction of motors vehicle to world-wide level.
Such working experience, carried it to characterize all a series of operating deficiencies and managerial in the logistics and supplyings in those companies that they began to tighten new relations trade them with enterprises situated in geographically distant markets.
Problematic the showiest one than such deficiencies, concerned in fact the fragmentation of the supplies and nearly the impossibility to coordinate supplyings also under a temporal point of view. Unitec, realized therefore new services, to high added value, that they turned out of extreme importance for such companies.
Nacque therefore the concept of integrated supply, through which it allowed to the companies customers to delegate the supplying activities therefore traditionally to obtain the supplies with more effective and efficient modalities regarding the methods uses you. The company therefore supports the choices of outsourcing from part of the own customers, managing the relationships with these through the situated Netsourcing.
Moreover, always this company, thanks to the experience matured in the years in the predisposition of supplying services, have developed innovative solutions like that one of virtual Warehouse, about which I will speak later on.
Currently, the markets of reference of UNITEC, are not only expanded in European within, thanks also of the Only Market that has favorite is the free circulation of the goodses that a reduction of risks connected to the exchange rates with the introduction of the Euro, but also in international within, where persist still objective difficulties for the enterprises pertaining to the various Countries, held account of the various languages not still totally was flavored.

  • Notes 29: Syler and Schwager, 2000.

3.1 The site Netsourcing

Netsourcing is the first situated applicativo, put to disposition from Unitec, dedicated to industrial supplyings via Internet.
In it the concept of outsourcing procedural finds flood application, since comes esternalizzato the supplying process, avoiding multiple generating operating costs diseconomie.
That holding account of the fact that the same managed costs to you supported for supplying of directed raw materials, come supported for the indirect materials, with remarkable inefficiencies for the corporate structure.
The situated one is an interface between the buying company and the provider of services in outsourcing, which provvederà to join with of coming from demands from the application in order taking advantage of the advantages of cost deriving from the aggregation of the question (figure 16), that is the number of suppliers, the transactions and the inner costs.
Beyond to the traditional functions of purchase (sourcing, ordering and expediting), it can come offered the payment service, by means of the emission of an only invoice, raising the customer from the management of the number of relative payments you to supplying fine-supplier.
For being able to obtain of the benefits it is necessary to reduce the number of the procedures elaborated in several the levels and agencies of the company.
As an example, the reduction of the number of supplying invoices in income to the administration cannot be rationalized some from the administrative agency of it from who emits the purchase orders.
The concept of integration of supplyings and administrative, only can be introduced in an industrial structure using a specialistic company that proposes the procedural optimizations and acts as from external compattatore, collecting and grouping all the procedures during the elaboration, reducing them therefore to one single 30 .

Figure 16: Demanded example of integration. 31





Historical price DM

Delivery date


Particular 1

Supplier 1



sett 1


Particular 2

Supplier 1



sett 2


Particular 3

Supplier 1



sett 2


Particular 4

Supplier 2



sett 3


Particular 5

Supplier 2



sett 1


Particular 6

Supplier 3



sett 5


Particular 7

Supplier 3



sett 1


Particular 8

Supplier 3



sett 2


Particular 9

Supplier 4



sett 3


Particular 10

Supplier 4



sett 2


Particular 11

Supplier 4



sett 3


Particular 12

Supplier 5



sett 2


Particular 13

Supplier 5



sett 7


Particular 14

Supplier 5



sett 3


Particular 15

Supplier 5



sett 2


Particular 16

Supplier 6



sett 4


Particular 17

Supplier 7



sett 5


Particular 18

Supplier 7



sett 3


Particular 19

Supplier 8



sett 2


Particular 20

Supplier 8



sett 7

On an order the provider it is therefore in this example, successful to integrate 20 particular of 8 various constructors.
The result of such integration will be therefore:

  • An only demand,
  • An only offer,
  • An only order,
  • An only delivery,
  • An only bubble of delivery,
  • An only invoice,
  • An only payment.

Instead of 8 different transactions a factor of reduction of 8:1 par to -87,5% of conventional inner transactions 32 has been caught up .
It objects you of an application like the situated Netsourcing, are therefore multiple:

  • Cost reduction of management (fax, telephone and communications),
  • Reduction of the cartacea documentation,
  • Improvement of the recording and recover of give and information to you,
  • Passage from the modality of communication sincrona (telephone) to asynchronous (email),
  • Independence of the job emplacements,
  • Homogeneity and share of the information.

The access to the application happens previa release of a password to the interested customer, which ogniqualvolta it will want to be taken advantage of the service of supply integrated offered from Unitec, it will not have to make other that to connect themselves just with browser the Internet to the URL, and to digitare its name customer, and exactly, the password assegnatagli.
To the inside of the application is introduces one constituted data bank gives to you beyond 44.500 articles of 3.240 various suppliers, dawned to second of the requirements of the customer.
The application is available and personalizzabile, in Italian, English and German, and on whichever database supplied from the customer, and allows one better management, from part of the customer, thanks also to the allocation possibility and control of the Budgets of expense.
For the agencies of Management and Administration it is possible to carry out the control of the operations carried out in detailed and personalizzabile way.
Report and statistics can be in graphical format or tabellare and the all dawned one in real time.
Netsourcing is implementabile also as already existing application Intranet or applications ERP.
This guarantees the continuity of the job and an ulterior system of backup of gives to you in case of problems of connection to Internet 34 . Moreover through this application it is possible to virtually fuse the content of various warehouses you mail, as an example, in only industrial district, creating the bases for the construction of a Virtual Warehouse.

  • Notes 30: Information drawn from the situated one
  • Notes 31: Image draft from the situated one
  • Notes 32: Example drawn from the situated one
  • Notes 33: Information drawn from the situated one
  • Notes 34: Information drawn from the situated one

3.2 The Virtual Warehouse

The innovative concept of Virtual Warehouse is fruit of some tendencies of management in action today, for the survival in a more and more threatened market from a competition of total level and turbulences that render the cycle of life of more and more short product.
Between these tendencies, already dealt previously, are sure from numbering outsourcing of the business activities that do not re-enter in accompanied Core business from a greater organizational flexibility, and use of the Information and Communication Technology in the supplying procedures, with the scope to save resources to assign to the characteristic activity.
Just as far as the outsourcing of the supplying procedures, a recent surveying previews that 50% of the European and American companies will adopt, within next the three years, solutions of outsourcing in the within of the operations of procurement, against it puts into effect them 22% that has already one in so far as strategy.
Through outsourcing of all the those activities that do not re-enter between those comprised in the excellence area, the enterprise can concentrate the resources on the production of goods and services, their quality, the design and therefore on the distintive competences with which creating useful value for the enterprises customers (in practical the enterprise new organization to net of the division of labor succeeds to reorganize the own structure with one).
In this new scene of extensive enterprise it is gone delineating a model of chain of extended supply, in which the activity of logistics it is not resolved in the single activity of rationalization of supplyings of raw materials and the distribution of finished products, but comprises all with of activities that allow the physical and informative flow of the goodses, to the just place and the just moment, to the inside of the productive chain.
We have already said as the electronic instruments of purchase change to second of the models of management of the supply relationships, of the level of collaboration that can be minimal in the discreet transaction and high in the relational exchange.
Just in the within of the development of the relationships of collaboration, pushed from the tendency to the simplification of the organizational structure, the two more innovative solutions are represented from the outsourcing of the purchase procedures, and from the sharing of the warehouse availabilities, through the creation of a Virtual Warehouse.
The term has been coined from Dr. Marino Vincenzo, currently general executive manager of the Unitec D, and be already from some year recognized from the dictionary of the published Digital Economy from the Sole24Ore.
The virtual warehouse is born from the sharing, between operating companies in the same field, than materials type of or member are resupplied of the same and operate in the same territory, of the warehouse availabilities.
The idea I found on the hypothesis of exclusion of the contemporary, demonstrated every day in simple way, from the only present spare wheel in our motors vehicle (is in fact highly improbable that holes more than a wheel to the time), and that it finds its mathematical demonstration in the law empiricist of the case of Laplace.
The objective is therefore that one of the reduction of equal supplyes presents in all the warehouses.
For which an enterprise it will have always the immediate availability of the material or member, but it can not have of the physical presence in warehouse.
The same thing happens in the just in Time, with the difference that in the Virtual Warehouse the concepts of outsourcing take part of the process of supplying, and sharing of warehouse infrastructures.
The Virtual Warehouse, can be defined like a physicist-computer science hybrid, in the sense that the physical availability of the materials regards only the present supplyes in the own infrastructures, while the rest of the materials of which the enterprise Virtual Warehouse can need is present in that called entity, which provisions and resupplies the subjects in the moment in which the member/material effectively it is demanded.
The Virtual Warehouse represents one possibility of cost reduction, through the reduction of immobilizations, introduced from one flexible management of the supplyes by means of their sharing with other subjects.
The operation is assured from an external subject, provider of services (figure 17), which it has the visibility of the total supplyes and, through systems informed and managerial procedures dedicated to us, manages the warehouses calculating the necessities of the companies and the levels of redundancy of materials to the inside of the district.
In our case provider the Unitec will be in a position to predisposing of time in time to favor of the customers, second the requirements and the type of products to provision, instruments and computer science applications on measure, thanks to the experience matured in this field.
The demands for material journey for the provider same, that it arranges supplying from adherent an inner warehouse to the group of the companies, or, eventually, from an external supplier (figure 17).
The Virtual Warehouse needs of a informatizations of common base to the enterprises participants and the adoption of procedures and protocols standard, so as to to have a complete homogeneity of they give to you uses you in system 35 .

Figure 17: Flow of supply enll' outsoucing of processes 36 .

Figure 17: Flow of supply enll’ outsoucing of processes 36 .

The concept of Virtual Warehouse does not represent only one instrument of organizational efficiency, but one true and own philosophy of management.
Philosophy that finds application in the, other that rare in our Country of industrial district.
The total competition has put in crisis our industry, in particular that traditional one of the secondary field.
The solution to the loss of market of our enterprises can in fact be represented from the union of the efforts in a Country that above all counts small enterprises and averages dimensions.
A cooperative approach in a strategic phase as that one of supplying can in fact help our enterprises to take advantage of economies that allow to assign the saved resources to the typical activities.
Economies hidden in the infrastructure sharing, that they render the drastic reduction of the costs and their transformation from fixed possible to variable.
The actors of the district will be able moreover to benefit of the increase of the immediate availabilities of warehouse, thanks to the provider, than through the flows informed to you, he covers the director position centers them of the Virtual Warehouse (figure 18).

Figure 18: Virtual warehouse of district 37 .

Figure 18: Virtual warehouse of district 37 .

  • Notes 35: Giuseppe Agus, 2003, the Virtual Warehouse of Unitec: Application to a Sanitary District , University of the Studies of Naples Parthenope
  • Notes 36: Feature from the situated one
  • Notes 37: Feature from the situated one

3.3 Some examples

We place the case that as an example participates to the M.V. plan three enterprises pertaining to the industrial district of the marble of Massa Carrara.
The three companies, reduce one own marble supplyes and graniti (the companies possess all the same type of supplyes) in the measure of 33%, therefore to stop one 66% of just the warehouse and, parallel, to make available it also for the others.



Therefore, they come cancels you the costs connected to the existence of an entire warehouse to the inside of the district (the sum of the costs of 33% of every business warehouse, corresponds in fact to the cost total of an entire warehouse).
Although that, the availability of sharing of the goodses given from every company, determines one doubled availability respect consistency of the supplyes ante participation to the M.V plan (66+66+66=200).
The saving for the three enterprises, is therefore equivalent to the cost of an entire warehouse paradoxicalally associated to the increment of 100% of the usable supplyes from one of they.
The companies interconnected in such system, also have therefore the guarantee of an availability of matters, that it goes quite beyond that one possessed previously, not being the present supplyes in their warehouse.
Obviously, more enterprises participate to the implementation of such solutions, minors turn out the quotas matters to store, and parallel, greater they will be the quotas matters available.
In the specific case of the district of the scarpone from ski of Montebelluna, where the enterprises, being in strong competition between they, go to operate singularly with a double of suppliers, they support all a series of costs, not only logistic but also trained to you and organizational, that they can be eliminates to you or, to the limit, remarkablly reduced.
This can happen above all for the materials and indirect members, which, most times generate of the considerable redundancies.
We imagine the district like a condominio formed from ten apartments (enterprises). Every condomino, conserve in the own house, a set of 10 light bulbs of reservoir and type standard, in the case becomes necessary one substitution.
The stock total will be therefore of 100 light bulbs. Supposing an equal average cost to 50 Euro to set of light bulbs, the all in cost of the stock, will be equal to 500 Euro.
It comes decided to reduce the stock characterizes them to 2 light bulbs with possibility for everyone of the condomini to address for the surplus, to the neighbor.
It comes then entrusted the assignment of the management of the stock of the light bulbs to a caretaker (UNITEC in the truth), which, thanks to a directory of the condomini and relati to you the set of rendered light bulbs available, capture the necessary light bulb from the set of condomino the more neighbor, organizing some the transport and the delivery, in order then to cure of the reintegrazione.
The every saving of single condomino is in this case of 80%, while the availability of supplyes is doubled (the condomino has 20 light bulbs against the 10 ante M.V.).
The enterprises of the district, can therefore pass from a management of conventional type, to which the existence of remarkable waste of resources is associated, to that it previews the participation and I use it of a virtual warehouse, through interconnections and logistic services distribute to you from the provider.
In the case then they were taken place of the particular variations in the demands for the goodses from part of an enterprise, and the warehouses of the others were not in a position to satisfying such requirement (case limit), UNITEC will carry out new supplyings immediately.
The provider it can operate with extreme sollecitudine, in how much the demand for supply from part of the company, reaches in real time and the state of the availability of the warehouses, is held under control 24 hours on 24 38 .

  • Notes 38: Examples drawn from Evolution of the relationships of Business to Business between small and averages enterprises, of F.Ulgiati

3.4 Presupposed

I will go hour to list the that render to cover the road of the own sharing of infrastructures and information of the concept of Virtual Warehouse.

3.4.1 The industrial districts

The industrial districts, or cluster, can be defined like of the territorial concentrations, substantially of small and averages enterprises, which in virtue of the mutual relations consolidated and a favorable external atmosphere succeed to produce in efficient way and to compete on the markets, also with enterprises of greater dimensions.
In Italy they exist beyond 200 industrial districts, in which forehead to the meager dimensions of every single enterprise and to the insufficient competitiveness with the great enterprise, establishing of the synergies (to times is made) and taking advantage of the territorial concentration in order to obtain of the logistic advantages.
The Italian industrial district shape above all in the manifacturing activity, around to which legacies to the critical mass are created of the benefits, like the creation of a dependent river basin with determined competences, or the presence of institutions (schools, university) times to the specialization and the technical development of the field.
All that creates the conditions for the predisposition of an atmosphere in which the creation of acquaintances a role can play centers them in the competitiveness of the district.
Beside these absolutes advantages legacies to the cluster they often rise of inefficiencies and the diseconomie, tied above all to the logistic, administrative and structural redundancies.
The idea of Virtual Warehouse rises just like solution to these redundancies, rendering the district still more competitive.
Even if the district idea is supported from remarkable advantages, today, this true one and just motor of the economy of our Country crisis is enduring one, to cause above all of the advent of the globalization and the Information and Communication Technology.
This last one in fact has contributed in important way to the flatten of the advantages deriving from localization of the enterprises of a district, with the commercialization of the time and the space.
The district, in order to remain competitive has therefore need to enter in a total optical, have using of the advantages deriving from the ICT, transforming the localization advantages in benefits deriving from the coordination and the sharing of acquaintances, and creating a virtual district.
However, the advantages deriving from localization and the territorial concentration of the cluster allow the accomplishment of the model of Virtual Warehouse.
In this in fact, the physical element of the vicinity of the warehouses, allows to their sharing and the elimination of those redundancies that are fruit of inefficiency of the system district.

3.4.2 Outsourcing

We have already observed as the constitution of a Virtual Warehouse demands the sharing of warehouse infrastructures.
Any shape of sharing demands, but, the passage of some powers (decisional and economic) from the single enterprises to a governmental authority of the entire group.
In order to plan and to manage a district net it is necessary that two conditions are come true:

  • that a strategic agency exists that cargo to conceive and to realize this plan is made,
  • that the net is put in condition of:
  1. to control and to manage the net processes;
  2. to shape, to select, and to hold assets the multiple logons between inner organizational units and external enterprises (net logons);
  3. to develop together: a hierarchical structure, a market, an informative system, a logistic system, a system of communication, a culture, a political system;
  4. to develop a system of government 39 .

The operation of the Virtual Warehouse can be assured solo from an external subject, the provider of services, which it has the visibility of the total supplyes and, through systems informed and managerial procedures dedicated to us, manages the warehouses calculating the necessities of the companies and the levels of redundancy of materials to the inside of the district.
In the choice of outsourcing, as I have asserted in the first one understood it, a role of primary importance plays the adoption of the ICT.
In fact the electronic instruments allow one greater facility of coordination between the integrated actors of the Virtual Warehouse with the provider external, and the adoption of collaborative relations times to pull down the transaction costs.
However, the esternalizzazione of the purchase procedures in a generalized manner, is conditioned in particular way from the strategic of the material or member and from its specificity.
For this the idea of Virtual Warehouse is more easy practicable, in the cases in which the raw materials to provision or to share in the warehouse it does not possess an elevated specificity (as they as an example do not possess it the commodities) for the activity of the company in issue, and it does not represent a input fundamental for the creation of value and competitive advantage towards the direct contenders of district.
It can be asserted, as an example, that the innovative concept of Virtual Warehouse is easy applicable for the supplyes of those indirect materials, that they can be classifies to you like Materials, Repairs, and Operations Goods (MRO).
Materials from the low specificity for the enterprises of the district, that they are characterizes you from I use uncertain, and legacy strongly to dynamics of market question, and for this, allow the companies to benefit totally of the concept of exclusion of the contemporary.

3,4,3 Entrepreneurial abilities

The several circumstances that have carried to the phase of recess of these years, have taught to us as not always the innovation finds fertile land around to if.
Often in fact, permangono some circumstances in which it is too much legacies to hierarchical relations of power are to the inside of the company, than between several the inner actors to the supply chain.
An optical of short period, capacity ahead from logic of the survival year for year, badly is conciliated with an organizational innovation like that one of the Virtual Warehouse.
The same thing happens in a generalized manner, for all the organizational innovations, in which it comes underrated the necessity of an approach, programmatico of along period, and integrated between more partner of the Supply Chain with it objects to you common, for the attainment of one more strong competitiveness than it arranges.
In a market in which the competition it goes progressively increasing itself, it becomes of fundamental importance the innovation.
Unfortunately the cases are not rare in which today, entire industrial districts, or other agglomerations above all in the manifacturing field are looked at, in serious difficulty in front of the been left over one of the competitiveness of production in other underdeveloped nations, like China.
E’ in these cases that an innovation as the Virtual Warehouse can play a fundamental role for the competitiveness of cost of the arrange-district.
More in a generalized manner, it goes felt the necessity to join the efforts, since, even if the advantages deriving from localization go slowly flattening because of the development of the computer science, sussiste technologies anchor cospicuo a patrimony of acquaintances that can be amplified.
The Information and Communication Technology, cross and delight of traditional entities like the districts, can constitute therefore, a resource key for the sharing of these acquaintances, through instruments advances you of management of the Supply Chain, like the Corporate Portals or, more better still the systems than ERP, of which I have already spoken in the previous pages.
The idea of Virtual Warehouse, therefore like all the of outsourcing procedural, or better than outsourcing administrative, involves the renunciation from part of the entrepreneur of part of its sovereignty.
This happens difficultly in the systems in which it is stretched to conserve a rigid and hierarchical organization, founded on force ratios with the own suppliers and/or customers, than does not offer space to the collaboration.
a closed entrepreneurial behavior of this type is most times synonymous of insufficient abilities, and a counter-productive optical too much tied to the result of short period.

  • Notes 39: Giuseppe Agus, 2003, the Virtual Warehouse of Unitec: Application to a Sanitary District , University of the Studies of Naples Parthenope

3.5 Advantages

The benefits deriving from the adoption of the Virtual Warehouse are multiple, and they can be led back mainly to two macroinsiemi: the first one regards a management of the supplyes more efficient thanks to the various advantages of cost deriving from the solution, while the second is riconducibile to the better managerial effectiveness.
Of continuation I will go to describe every advantage deriving from this innovative solution.

3.5.1 Reduction of the supplyes, and the relati to you costs of warehouse

The reduction of the supplyes of members or materials is sure the first and more immediate ricavabile advantage from the adoption of the Virtual Warehouse.
As I have already asserted, the physical sharing of material immobilizations of warehouse allows, nearly paradoxicalally, the secondary virtualizzazione of the consistencies of raw materials, parts, materials or members, playing an important role for the business efficiency.
The reduction of understood them immobilized will carry therefore to a better equilibrium, thanks to the possibility of financial lessening of the cover of requirementses with sources to medium-along term, and therefore conferring to the corporate structure, one important note of flexibility.
The supplyes involve of the operating costs: the optimization of the supplyes in warehouse is based on the elimination of the emergency supplyes, than in the greater part of an exercise they do not come used, but however stopped in order to make forehead to unexpected peaks of question.
As soon as junior clerk, the Virtual Warehouse, involves a lessening of the supplyes that Unitec quantifies in 20% approximately and it does not exclude a greater percentage later on, when it comes applied a greater control on the supplyes.
The lessening of the supplyes ago yes that the same costs of storing (energetic rent local, costs, emergency) can be reduced, above all if the reduction of the supplyes is meaningful 40 .
Through the Virtual Warehouse, it is therefore possible to catch up the last aim of all the political of Inventory Management, that is the reduction of the consistencies of warehouse without to compromise of the availability.
The innovation is in the fact that, the two requirements, apparently inconciliabili, yields come both possible thanks to the concept of virtual brought from the ICT.
In figure 19 they are represents the levels of cost acceptable minimums to you for one effective and efficient management of the supplyes:

Figure 19: Level of optimal service.

Figure 19: Level of optimal service.

The diagram represents the costs minimums to support in order to obtain a level of optimal service (optimal service).
This last one in fact would come compromise in the case in which the connected costs are wanted to be reduced in excessive way to the management of the warehouse (blue line), without to safeguard the market question totally, are from the quantitative point of view that qualitative.
The level of optimal service is only assured when the decreasing curve of the aforesaid costs is met with the increasing line of the losses upgrades them due to the disservizio, which increases diminishing of the warehouse consistencies.
The point of optimal service allows therefore to catch up the last aim of the Inventory Manager, diminishing the costs totals.
The virtual warehouse involves one reduction of both critical costs us.
The costs which had to upgrade them losses of orders diminish since, yielding to provider external a management of the supplyes, let alone the same consistencies of warehouse, lessening of the incidence of these will be assisted to one on the result negative which had to a level of not optimal service.
It will be had therefore a total flatten of these costs upgrades them (figure 20).

Figure 20: flatten of the curve of the relative costs you to upgrades them lacked sales

Figure 20: flatten of the curve of the relative costs you to upgrades them lacked sales

Moreover, reducing more or less considerably the consistencies than warehouse as a result of the esternalizzazione of the function, will have one proporziona them relative cost reduction you, as we can see from figure 21.

Figure 21: Cost reduction of warehouse.

Figure 21: Cost reduction of warehouse.

The result that we will obtain from the combination of the two phenomenon therefore is represented in figure 22, from which he turns out obvious the lowering and the movement towards right of the curve of the costs totals:

Figure 22: Evolution of the level of optimal service and the relative costs you to the losses upgrades them.

Figure 22: Evolution of the level of optimal service and the relative costs you to the losses upgrades them.

  • Notes 40: Giuseppe Agus, 2003, the Virtual Warehouse of Unitec: Application to a Sanitary District , University of the Studies of Naples Parthenope

3.5.2 Solution of the relative paradox to the reduction of the supplyes

The choice to reduce the present supplyes in warehouse, and therefore, its consistency, does not only determine of upgrades them relative costs you to the loss of sales, but a directed effect more than this manageriale choice it is given sure from the increase of the number of the transactions, with consequent increment of the relative costs of supplying, like we can see to you from the following figures:

Figure 23: Reduction of the supplyes with consequent increment of the relative costs you to supplying.

Figure 23: Reduction of the supplyes with consequent increment of the relative costs you to supplying.

With the outsourcing of the purchase procedures, and in particular with the adoption of the solution of integrated supply offered Unitec, it is attempted to obviate to this true and just paradox. The solution is in fact in finding a point of equilibrium between the minimal level of supplyes, determined based on the business necessities, and the number and the cost of supplyings (figure 24).

Figure 24: Point of equilibrium between minimal supplyes and costs of supplying.

Figure 24: Point of equilibrium between minimal supplyes and costs of supplying.

3.5.3 Lessening of the supplying costs

However, an important facilitation to the solution of the problem of the relative paradox to supplying of supplyes, comes from the cost reduction supplying, and from the relative flatten of the curve, determined from the solution that provider of services of supplying like Unitec, they offer.
The Virtual Warehouse consists in the grouping more subjects with the effect to create one risen of partnership of purchase.
Therefore it renders the creation of advantages of cost of supplying possible deriving from buyer aggregation, that is is possible to define to advantage of partnership the conditions which price, amount, times, quality of the supply, than to the buying small they were not allowed.
This idea, already contained in the solution of integrated supply that I have described in the within of the outsourcing procedural, allows therefore to multiply the advantages of the innovative idea of Virtual Warehouse.

3.5.4 More effective management of the warehouse

An ulterior advantage consists then in the possibility to know the amounts and the necessities of warehouse in real time, and the course of the months and the years to know lead Time of supplying of the supplies, allowing to manage in more effective and efficient way the warehouse.
The control of the level of supplyes, entrusted to a provider external that has the visibility of the total availability of the district, it is rendered more effective, and it renders the lessening of the supplyes of emergency of the single actors possible, which can reach however to the MV.
To the inverse , the control of the relative fluctuations, from every part single company of small dimensions, is sure more risk, and above all, it is not helped from the guarantees of availabilities offered from the Virtual Warehouse.
In fact that thanks to this last every single partner has to its disposition a consistency, even if virtual, of warehouse, than otherwise would not have.
If as an example a particular type of store clerk had to be verified, extraordinary, than never it had not been preventivata, there would be an elevated probability that it is instead reperibile in the district comprensorio through the MV.
Perhaps its owner has made available it because he uses it very rarely, and therefore hopes to gain some of the profit rendering it available for other companies.
All this mechanism of rationalization but, cannot ahead be carried to compartments ponds, but holding account of the sinergic effect of a total restructure, also it graduates them, of the district structure, and to put hand to the business processes (Business Process Reengineering) 41 .

3.5.5 Elimination of the overhead managerial

The adoption of the Virtual Warehouse allows the cost reduction of management, and therefore one greater organizational efficiency.
This consequence, typical of the choices of outsourcing, door therefore to the flessibilizzazione of the corporate structure, with relative variable of the costs.
Importance strategic for the company to hold under control this type of costs.
Often in fact one does not keep accounts of the costs connected to the finding, the choice, the resupply, and in a generalized manner to all the actions of Market Intelligence. Without to speak about it wastes of time that involves these administrative praxes, than are added and more to the lacked exploitation the instruments that the ICT offers to support of the aforesaid operations.
These times of office are not free, but they come pays to you indirectly, because who takes care itself of these bureaucratic passages cannot be operating and to dedicate to tasks more high added value.
If these problems came resolved, even with the passage of the supplies to an only one outsourcer of supplyings, that it raises the acts to you from the bureaucratic relationships with the suppliers, an immediate improvement of the supplies would be had, for times and quality, but also of cost because all it is made of passive supplying would come eliminated, determining a greater efficiency of system..

3.5.6 Creation of positive externalization

The advent on our territory of industrial entities which the districts has sure determined deep changes acclimatizes them.
Often it has carried with if externalization disagreeable which the pollution or the traffic of motors vehicle.
externalization Just this last phenomenon is more of the other fruit of a management not coordinated of the supply relationships, which can contribute, with the Virtual Warehouse, to an important reduction of it wastes, with consequent benefits deriving from externalization positive.
The reduction of means used after the transport of materials and members provisions you to the inside of the positive district involves moreover other externalization, which the reduction of the atmospheric and acoustic pollution.

  • Notes 41: Giuseppe Agus, 2003, the Virtual Warehouse of Unitec: Application to a Sanitary District , University of the Studies of Naples Parthenope

5. Conclusions

In a period of great uncertainties and deep transformations as that one to which we are assisting today, is right that instruments innovated to you are made road in the economic scene that they facilitate is from the qualitative point of view, than quantitative, the communication and the sharing of information between economic subjects.
These instruments, that Technologies in the communication between enterprises derive from the advent of the Information and Communication, undoubtedly represent the future as far as the great part of the management activities.
In particular, as far as the function supplyings, the computer science technology has smoothed the road to the requirements of lean organization from part of the modern entrepreneur.
Requirements pushed from a market turbulence and in a generalized manner, from a shortening of the cycle of life of the product, conjunctural that, if it does not face to you ready in flexible way with an organization snella risk to compromise the activity of the economic subjects.
The crescent international competition, and the crash of our enterprises with those of Underdeveloped nations like China, our productions are putting in series difficulty.
However, in a rather developed atmosphere, in markets in phase of maturation and a lot it concentrates to you, an innovation as the Virtual Warehouse of Unitec D. can play a fundamental role.
In particular, the creation innovations like this, enjoys wide possibilities, thanks to the development of the instruments web-based of sharing of every type of acquaintance.
Moreover, with the progressive concentration of our enterprises on just Core business and with the consequent increment of market resource, all are created the presupposed ones for a system competitiveness, which demands today more than in past, of that game of square who is in the management of the daily operativity (of every extensive company), rendered possible from the instruments of the ICT.
To the base of the operation of a such approach, the entrepreneur situates itself once again. These, must remain open to the development possibilities that the technology offers and to consider of time in time the consequences of one possible organizational reconfiguration, watching not only to the immediate future, but lengthening the own horizons towards an optical of along period.
All that flavored from that spirit of challenge and farsightedness that the key of time for a new one represents sure, and more effective way than to make enterprise.


  • Giuseppe Agus, 2003, “Il Magazzino Virtuale di Unitec: Applicazione ad un Distretto Sanitario”
  • R. Cagliano, “Gestione degli Approvvigionamenti e Web Economy”, Politecnico Milano
  • Echeverri-Carroll, E.L., “Knowledge Flows in Innovation Networks: A Comparative Analysis of Japanese and US High-Technology Firms”, Journal of Knowledge Management, 1999
  • Huang, G.Q. and K.L. Mak, “Web-Based Collaborative Conceptual Design”, Journal of Engineering Design, 1999
  • Il sole 24ore, @lfa, 18 Novembre 2004
  • M. Kalchschmidt, “Alcuni esempi di utilizzo di strumenti Internet-based per la gestione degli approvvigionamenti”, Politecnico Milano
  • Robert Kuttner, Business Week, May 11, 1998
  • G. Scozzese “L’impatto dell’Information & Communication Technology sui rapporti i fornitura”
  • Ohno, “Lo Spirito Toyota”
  • S.Paquette, L.Moffat, “Corporate Portals on Supply Chain Collaboration”
  • Francesco Pignatelli, “L’e-business è dopo l’ERP”
  • Jeremy Rifkin, “L’era dell’Accesso”, 2000
  • G. Spina, “Gestione della Sypply Chain e Web Economy”, Politecnico Milano
  • F. Ulgiati, “Evoluzione dei rapporti di Business to Business tra piccole e medie imprese”



This page has been automatically translate with Google from the Italian language.