Internet often used in inventory tank gauging, process level measurement

Natick, MA—Sixty-three percent of inventory tank gauging (ITG) system purchasers use them for commodities they buy or sell, and 40% of these users report their suppliers use the Internet or telemetry to track and manage inventories, according to a new market study released July 14 by Venture Development Corp. (VDC).

07/18/2003


Natick, MA— Sixty-three percent of inventory tank gauging (ITG) system purchasers use them for commodities they buy or sell, and 40% of these users report their suppliers use the Internet or telemetry to track and manage inventories, according to a new market study released July 14 by Venture Development Corp.

Similarly, 38% have applications with ITG systems that track their customers' inventory levels, and that 44% of these use the Internet or telemetry to track and manage customers' inventories. ITG is defined as the use of level measurement for inventory storage and custody transfer, rather than in process control applications.

In both cases, some respondents with no Internet or telemetry use indicated these capabilities would likely be initiated in a year or two. However, most indicated they had no plan to adopt Internet or telemetry, while some said they hope never for security reasons. Also, some respondents regarded monitoring of customer inventories as a disadvantage because it reduces direct person-to-person contact with customers.

Nonetheless, the study found that Internet use has grown in popularity as a source of information on ITG and process level measurement products. The slightly declining share between 2000 and 2002 may be a temporary glitch, or an anomaly in the data. However, it could also represent a peaking out in the utility of the Internet as a data source.

Use of the Internet to gather data on ITG systems and process level measurement devices:

  • 2002

  • 2000

  • 1998

  • 1995

Most used Internet functions include search engines to locate vendor web sites. Also used are on-site directories and on-line sites of trade periodicals.

Although on-line purchasing is growing in popularity, it is not growing at a rate previously expected. VDC asked purchasers who were not buying over the Internet in 2000 whether they expected to be purchasing these products on-line within two years. About 27% indicated they did. In the current study they were asked if they expect to be making near-term purchases on-line, and only 7% replied that they do.

One factor in this slower pace is that vendors and distributors have not created on-line ordering web sites to the degree expected. Also, technical support is a principal vendor selection criterion among purchasers, and many view this as being best obtained in person-to-person dealings. The purchases also often involve services beyond hardware, and have to be handled on a contract basis. Spare part orders are more likely to be ordered on-line.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor
jmontague@reedbusiness





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