Firms fall behind in Internet race

Firms fall behind in Internet race
Melanie Reynolds The UK manufacturing industry is falling behind its rivals by failing to fully exploit the Internet as a business tool. So claims a report by the Institute for Manufacturing, IBM and the DTI. Whereas 94 per cent of companies have Internet access and 77 per cent have a Web site, only 33 per cent use it to sell and 27 per cent to buy products and services. Even fewer companies use it as a way of undertaking designs shared between sites. The report claims that electronics companies perceive the main benefit of the Internet as increasing their visibility and sales. Over half of the electronics companies use the Internet to sell products. “As you would expect in the electronics sector they’re more electronically literate and therefore likely to go for visibility and sales,” said Liz Amos, one of the report’s authors. The Internet is used for collaborative design projects by only 13 per cent of those surveyed. The sector most advanced in the use of the Internet for this purpose is aerospace. This allows teams in different countries to work on the same project over a 24-hour cycle. The report states that a key driver for Internet use should be increased efficiency whereas companies cite visibility as the most common driver. The authors of the report questioned 200 companies in five manufacturing sectors regarding their use of the Internet for business.


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