AAA Reports on E-Commerce Explosion

The American Arbitration Association (AAA), a conflict management and dispute resolution provider, reports that in its "B2B E-Commerce Readiness Study," it found that more than 70 percent of those surveyed have already moved part of their supply chain online. Additionally, almost 70 percent of respondents expect their business-to-business (b-to-b) e-commerce supply chain to be completed within the next two years. The survey of 100 senior executives at Fortune 1000 companies was conducted by Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo for the AAA.

When asked about their company's b-to-b e-commerce initiatives, 95 percent of respondents said that they expect their involvement to increase - with more than a third saying the increase will be significant."It is clear from the survey findings that while the initial hype about e-commerce ventures may have fallen short, the reality is catching up with companies racing to prepare their supply chains," says William K. Slate II, president and CEO of the AAA. "As they join this growing marketplace, companies must learn to manage online relationships in order to uphold the continuity of business."

According to the study, 78 percent of respondents said they are familiar with online exchanges – Internet-based e-commerce business hubs focusing on b-to-b e-commerce transactions – with six out of ten agreeing that b-to-b e-commerce in their industry will move in this direction. The majority of respondents (58 percent) are also currently involved in online exchanges; almost half of them created or helped create an exchange.

When asked about the most important challenges to effective b-to-b e-commerce, more than 90 percent of respondents cited integrity/security. Respondents also pointed to technology, cost and supply chain disputes as likely obstacles. In addition, two out of three respondents expressed concern about a b-to-b e-commerce dispute with a major supplier and nearly half said that such a dispute would impact their business.

Despite more than half the respondents agreeing that moving supply chains online will create new or different kinds of B-TO-B disputes, 64 percent said their company does not yet have a plan in place to deal with them. And while almost 70 percent agreed that additional guidelines are necessary for managing e-commerce disputes, approximately one in four said that either nothing is currently being done at their company to ensure that supply chains run without disputes, or that they are not yet familiar with any plans being made.

"We were surprised to learn that many companies do not yet have a plan in place to resolve B-TO-B e-commerce disputes, however, they are recognizing the potential pitfalls as they call for guidelines," adds Debi Miller-Moore, Vice President of AAA's e-commerce services. "It is clear that reducing B-TO-B e-commerce disputes - and providing an electronic mechanism for resolving them if they do occur - is crucial to the success of the medium."