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Imperial Sugar

The Project: Lets customers place orders, check stock, and track shipments via the Web.

The Payoff: With 10% of sales now coming over the Web, they cut in half the number of customer-service reps.

When it comes to adopting technology, the sugar industry moves slower than molasses. But two years ago, when Imperial Sugar Co. (IPSU) landed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, tech offered a lifeline. To cut costs and tighten relationships with customers, the company built the industry's first Internet system for customers to check stock, place orders, and track delivery -- tasks that took hours over the phone. A little over a year later, some 10% of Imperial's sales are coming in over the Web. That should more than double by next year. Better yet, Imperial is out of bankruptcy. Results like this are too sweet to ignore. By Andrew Park

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