Application of Knowledge-based Systems in a B-to-B Environment

M. Malis, C. Svensson, and L. Hvam (Denmark)


Expert Systems, Knowledge-Based Systems, Supply Chain Management and Extended Enterprises.


As a result of globalisation, supply networks are getting increasingly more complex and extended. The exchange of knowledge becomes a critical parameter for the improvement of efficiency. This article describes the architecture of a web-based expert system that enables knowledge-based product information to reach several companies within a network. The day-to-day interaction for design and purchase of products in a B-to-B environment will be in focus. It is illustrated how the use of web-based expert systems can improve the efficiency of the sales process significantly. The use of configurators has changed the daily interaction between a company and its suppliers. Large multinational companies (e.g. Dell and Cisco) have demonstrated how the use of web-based expert systems can revolutionize the sale of customized products and change market paradigms. The companies have reached new levels of competitiveness. However, web-based expert systems are not only feasible for these giants. Solar A/S, Denmark’s largest electrical wholesaler, is running a portal for the purchase of electrical components. Recently an expert system has been introduced by one of the suppliers in order to improve communication within a network of companies. In this paper it is described how configurators are built and the new opportunities they bring are discussed.

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