Put it together and...
The result of this work for Guess? will be the full implementation of its portal, the Apparel Buying Network.
The process will happen in stages.
"We want to bring purchasing such as MIS product buying electronic right away," says Timm. "For example, we have Office Depot going live right away as an electronic supplier of products for us in this area. At the same time, we want to make electronic our own product catalogs at Guess? for basic items, so that our shops and shops-within-shops can simply log on to make purchases."
Suppliers will interact with the Guess? portal through a browser. Special functions will allow the suppliers to upload catalogs, price lists, and inventory lists.
Old habits die hard with many small suppliers, so often they will elect to receive purchase orders as faxes generated by the portal software. They can elect to receive POS through electronic document interchange, CXML, or e-mail.
Directec Corp., a supplier of computer systems, has a long relationship with Guess? Dave Barnes, sales manager for the Guess? account, says that Guess? is one of his first accounts with a portal, and he sees potential benefits almost immediately for both sides. According to the company's vice president of sales, Kurt Reibling, "Directec will benefit from the Commerce One system by spending virtually no time quoting, and Guess? will benefit by receiving accurate and instantaneous pricing electronically, eliminating the need to wait for faxed quotes, multiple telephone calls, price negotiations, and entering data."
On the user side of the Guess? portal, we'll see a customized set of Web pages. All users will enter the system after a check of their rights with a VeriSign server. The system will display the pages within the user's rights. Because this is an integrated portal, the same screens can lead to corporate e-mail, scheduling, messaging, and human resources applications.
Scaling this system to meet future demand will be easy, according to Guess? director of technology DeMerit. Now, Microsoft IIs Web server software runs on multiple Compaq servers running Windows NT, with distributed load balancing running under a Cisco Local Director. Plans call for balancing Web servers across multiple locations for better system availability. A suite of application servers runs the system's PeopleSoft applications, with Windows NT and Microsoft SQL Server on clustered hardware. And an Enterprise Storage system from EMC Corp. provides high-availability, centralized data storage.
By the end of this year, the Guess? portal will be complete. Once fully operational, the portal will allow open trading among buyers and suppliers in the textile and apparel industries, with functions ranging from volume purchasing to online auctions and apparel manufacturing using an automated bid-quote process.