Intel is rolling out two programmes in an attempt to solve the excess inventory problem which has financially dented PC manufacturers.
The chip giant will develop two programmes which aim to insulate PC makers and resellers from sudden changes in price or availability of components such as processors and memory chips.
Although PC makers such as Dell have been adopting build-to-order approaches in which they assemble and customise PCs to a buyer's specifications rather than building up stock, Intel believes these have been hampered by the unpredictability of the components market.
Intel's Supply Line Management initiative will set up electronic links with its PC licensees, large resellers - that are to carry out assembly - and component suppliers. Pricing will be on a real-time, as-needed basis.
When a PC maker enters a customer's model specification into the system, it will automatically find the best price and availability of the necessary components.
The next stage will be to allow PC vendors and resellers to buy the components online. The two programmes will be piloted this year and Intel also plans to set up training initiatives for resellers carrying out assembly and build-to-order, to increase their knowledge of PC technology.
Later this year, the systems will go online for first-tier PC makers and selected large resellers. The system will be opened to all other vendors by the end of 1999.
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