Keywords: business-to-business integration, B2Bi, e-business, e-commerce, electronic business, electronic commerce, extended markup language, XML, XSLT, aerospace industry, supply chain management, SCM, supply chain integration, SMEs, small to medium-sized enterprises, internet, web technologies
Data interchange services: use of XML hub approach for the aerospace supply chain
The broad adaptation of e-commerce (EC) and information technologies (IT) in business applications has created fierce competition across the various industries. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in the hope of surviving as suppliers in the technology intensive aerospace industry, are facing challenges as members of the global strategic partner network. Software developers and businesses are actively pursuing the next phase of business-to-business integration (B2Bi), namely XML-based web applications that can enable inter-enterprise integration. There are many de facto XML initiatives for vertical or horizontal B2Bi, such as ebXML, RosettaNet, HL7, and cXML. The diversity of XML formats causes difficulty in facilitating XML-based data exchanges. Companies are adopting several XML versions to engage in trade. The XML hub prototype is developed using widely applied web-based technologies (XML, XSLT, HTTP and JDOM). The hub architecture is flexible, scalable, extensible and suitable for a distributed networking environment. A prototype was implemented for aerospace supply chain integration and the case emphasises the applicability to smaller suppliers. The research has provided B2Bi solutions for SMEs to participate in global aerospace supply chains.