Utilizing E-Business at Ocean King Transportation Co., Ltd.
According to Ray (2003), e-business was about putting Internet technologies to work for a company. Companies of all sizes used the Web to transform the way they conducted business and achieved operational efficiency with numerous positive outcomes such as higher revenues, higher customer satisfaction, and cost reductions. Moreover, e-business gave many small businesses a competitive edge in the economy. Using the Internet to sell and service customers and to deal with partners and suppliers was a cost-effective and efficient way to satisfy customer needs and streamline the full production chain from supplier to customer. E-business connected critical business systems directly to customers, employees, suppliers, and distributors via the Web. To achieve these benefits, existing businesses had to transform their traditional business processes with e-business applications (Katsch, 2001, p. 30).
People often used the term e-commerce instead of e-business. In a strict sense, e-business referred to all business activities conducted on the Internet by an individual firm or industry; whereas, e-commerce was a part of e-business; the term referred only to activities involved in buying and selling online. These activities included identifying suppliers, selecting-products or services, making purchase commitments, completing financial transactions, and obtaining service (Cenzer, 2006, p.5).
According to Dueease (2000), the four ways that small business owners could use e-business to prosper were e-mail, creating their own Website without the e-commerce exchange of money, networking computers, and using the Websites of other businesses. The key factors in evaluating the new e-business solutions were setup cost, cost to operate, and speed of communications, accuracy, security, schedule (timeliness), coverage, and productivity.
Small businesses such as lawn companies, building companies, and other service contractors, used social media Websites, search engine marketing, and search engine optimization to improve their sales from their Websites because they had additional avenues to reach customers and communicate with them. In addition, the Internet also enabled them to target their ads more accurately toward potential customers, which improved the returns on their marketing budget. Social media Websites were growing in popularity, thus, one of the most effective ways to reach customers was to go where the customers were going. Entrepreneurs also recognized that the Internet was quickly replacing traditional phonebooks, just as the automobile replaced the horse drawn carriage (Johnson, 2010, 5).
Ocean King Transportation Co., Ltd was a small but rapidly growing shipping company. The company’s CEO was enthusiastic about the growth of the business, which is why the company planned to use e-business to compete in the economy. Nevertheless, the company still had some obstacles. The CEO summarized the main e-business obstacles at Ocean King Transportation Co., Ltd. (Kitiwattanabumrung , personal communication, Interview, March 20, 2011) as a lack of technological knowledge, lack of workers skilled in e-business, and Internet security. These represented some of the weaknesses of the project. Some of the most important benefits of e-business achieved by Ocean King Transportation Co., Ltd. included improved customer service, market expansion, reduction of cost and increased profits.