Although e-commerce has become a common basis for business transactions in most markets, other elements of e-business are not as widely used yet. This paper extends and operationalizes a previously developed e-business process model by Basu and Muylle (2007). Specifically, it presents evaluation measures for each process and an instrument based on those measures, and describes an effective approach to assess firms’ e-business capabilities. The assessment approach is illustrated using data from a diverse collection of firms in the Flanders region of Belgium. This is followed by an illustration of how such assessments can assist firms in identifying e-business initiatives in line with strategic and market priorities, using a subset of the firms as examples.
Barry Callebaut is a fully integrated chocolate company with worldwide presence in 26 countries. The company is world leader in producing chocolate and compound products with an estimated volume of 524.000 tons in 2006. In addition to its standard product range of high volume, made-to-order chocolate, Barry Callebaut has introduced a new service, targeted at its artisan customer. The new initiative, 'Or Noir', allows the artisan customer to create his/her own chocolate, in small volumes (500kg), based on a selection of a number of region-specific cocoa beans. The challenge has been to offer this customisation without incurring the high cost that would be associated with the production of small batches in a production process that had been designed for large volumes. The company manages to do so through a creative supply chain design, in combination with an advanced product development system that allows the customer to design the preferred chocolate.
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