Integrative and process approaches were used in evaluating the level of response of business to business internet commerce in the manufacturing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The derived findings reveal that most manufacturing SMEs are yet to embrace internet commerce. Nevertheless, the first adopters of e-commerce are gaining more due to the enhanced business transactions. In addition to this, the derived findings reveal that e-businesses have several benefits.
With the current advancement in technology, several questions arise on the viability of conducting business-to-business transactions (B-to-B) through the internet. To eliminate these doubts, this research was inevitable. The research aimed at:
Assessing the level of adoption of business-to-business internet transactions. This was done by examining the nature of commercial transactions that could be done online.
Finding the connection between the perceived benefits of internet business at the firm level. This was to be done by determining whether the benefits and impacts of internet business are influenced by internal or external factors like firm size and their relationship with other business partners. Here, B-to-B e-commerce is perceived to represent a large part of ever-growing business internet transactions. Compared with large enterprises, small and medium-sized enterprises are seen to be left behind in embracing e-commerce. However, critical measures have been made to enhance the incorporation of e-commerce by small and medium-sized firms due to their immense contribution to the economy.
E-commerce refers to all electronic mechanisms that are utilized to enhance business. Although Electronic Data Interchange in the business sector has been in use for several years, advanced internet applications have made e-commerce more appealing. Internet-based e-commerce and other private networks provide a fundamental environment for exchanging information within one firm and between different firms. In determining the level of B-to-B e-commerce penetration using the integrative and process-based approach in a production environment, for example, each of the generic functional business-related activities was to be examined at the point of impact. This was done by evaluating the use of electronic mechanisms in performing business transactions across the entire spectrum of business.
The business impacts of B-to-B e-commerce
Some of the derived advantages of embracing internet-based business transactions include reduced costs of transactions, improved accuracy levels, and reduction in the amount of time for doing business. The internet provides an enhanced and accessible environment for conducting business, which is open to everyone.
Sample and Respondent Selection
The test sample was drawn from operating manufacturing firms with not more than 500 workers in one of the provinces in Canada. This was in accordance with the definition of SME by both the OECD and American Small Business Administration.
An internet-based survey was to be used on 122 manufacturing firms because most of the SMEs in Canada are connected to the internet. From each firm, the chief executive officer was the preferred respondent. An online survey was used as it provided the most favorable ground with reduced handling costs and accurate information would be retrieved with ease.
The results of the study indicated that a great percentage (25%) of SMEs conducted a particular e-business process. These are product-related activities like product development, engineering, and design. In addition to this, other e-commerce activities include procurement, logistics, and marketing.
From the study, it was evident that most of the SMEs embraced e-commerce in most of their transactions; from the basic non-transactional activities to more demanding transactional activities. Nevertheless, the impacts of B-to-B activities were highly related to e-commerce penetration. Cost minimization, improved sales, and a wider market were some of the positive benefits that were associated with e-commerce. Moreover, it was also evident that most SMEs were considering integrating B-to-B e-commerce.
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