2 February 2011
Here’s an article in this week’s Lloyd’s List Ship Manager:
ShipServ is introducing a new brand verification feature on its e-commerce platform, enabling suppliers to ensure that only companies with genuine links with them can offer branded parts and services while giving buyers confidence in the companies they are dealing with.
ShipServ chief executive Paul Ostergaard says ShipServ is encouraging the use of social media tools to develop trust on line. “ShipServ is one of the most advanced users of B2B social networks in any industry,” he claims.
Development of brand verification is an important advance in this context.
“Product information and brand verification is necessary for ecommerce. Buyers are under pressure and therefore vulnerable, remote from the ship and with no time to do detailed research,” Mr Ostergaard says. ShipServ’s tool can ensure the information on suppliers is “accurate, independent and comprehensive, enabling buyers to find suppliers quickly”. It allows manufacturers to check that suppliers purporting to represent them and market their brands are authorised to do so. If confirmed, that fact is highlighted on ShipServ.
Mr Ostergaard says that the large number of suppliers in shipping makes assessing their quality difficult. “Suppliers can take control of their brand to ensure who is authorised to supply branded products.” The brand verification facility started in December with so far about 25 managed brands on its system. It will be fully operational in February.
Wärtsilä is among them and its ESolutions consultant Tuomo Livonen has confirmed that the company has found suppliers falsely claiming to be authorised.He says that online services, including e-commerce, are playing an increasingly important role in its customer relations management and technical support and will continue to expand.
International Marine Purchasers’ Association chief operating officer Stephen Alexander says that the organisation uses the system to manage the IMPA brand, as some suppliers claimto be IMPA members, but are not.
“Brand verification can help distinguish good suppliers,” Mr Alexander says. It can be particularly useful somewhere such as China where there are many suppliers about whom buyers have limited knowledge of their quality and reliability. “It can also assist suppliers policing the problem of companies offering fake parts.”
In another development, ShipServ has introduced a system of customer reviews from actual buyers that have actively traded on the system. “Reviews appear to be popular among both suppliers and users. We aim to enable marine and offshore people to help each other as a community to share information.”
However,Mr Ostergaard stresses that ShipServ remains a neutral facilitator with regard to individual suppliers.
Leave a Reply