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In the distribution industry, new business development, business cooperation, in-house business rationalization, and other areas are expanding to solve problems created by changes in the domestic and international business environment. To handle these changes, each distribution company is re-thinking business processes in accordance with the evolution and expansion of the new social infrastructure, including the Internet and open systems.
Basic business operations are being rationalized and competitiveness is being strengthened by lowering costs through the use of information systems. In this way the physical constitution of the industry is improving. Among these changes, electronic commerce (EC) is gaining attention for its ability to revise business strategy and as a distribution channel and communication tool exceeding the bounds of conventional commercial transactions. Efforts at EC have therefore begun both within companies and within industry.
EC can be broadly divided into EC between consumers and business, a new sales channel, and EC between businesses, used to improve business processes. An optimum organizational structure is required in each of the various fields.