Canadian Plastics

Internet sites and business issues relevant to Canadian processors and moldmakers (May 01, 2000)

MAJOR PLAYERS JOINING FORCESBASF, Bayer, Dow Chemical, DuPont and Ticona/Celanese have signed a letter of intent to form an on-line marketplace to deliver products and services to injection molders wo...

May 1, 2000   By Cindy Macdonald, Associate Editor



MAJOR PLAYERS JOINING FORCES

BASF, Bayer, Dow Chemical, DuPont and Ticona/Celanese have signed a letter of intent to form an on-line marketplace to deliver products and services to injection molders worldwide. The electronic marketplace will carry thermoplastic resins, other materials, molding equipment, tooling, maintenance supplies and related services. The new venture expects to be on-line in October.

E-BUSINESS FOR JOB SHOPS

Manufacturing services, such as custom plastics processing and moldmaking, are moving on to the Internet in some interesting ways. ManufacturingQuote.com (1) bills itself as a Web marketplace for buying and selling manufacturing services. Buyers conduct a private quoting process with participating job shops, beginning with an on-line request for quotation. Suppliernet.com (2) performs a similar function.

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Another twist on job shops using the Internet comes from a couple of Ottawa-based entrepreneurs. One of the partners, Hugh Pearson, explained to me that E-machining.com (3) is a job shop for machining and contract manufacturing without a shop floor. The company will conduct all business with clients electronically. Pearson and his partner will handle all design, engineering, marketing and customer support functions, while a network of qualified satellite shops will do the actual machining.

(1) www.mfgquote.com

(2) www.suppliermarket.com

(3) www.e-machiningnet.com

TAKE THE PLUNGE AND SHAPE THE FUTURE

Thomas Gellrich, the newly appointed director of e-business at Elf Atochem North America Inc. (4), neatly sums up the state of e-commerce in the chemical industry.

“The purchase of chemical industry products is most often based on specifications and logic, and lends itself well to electronic commerce. At the present time, the chemical industry is redefining itself with e-commerce. There’s no clear-cut solution for success.”

My own feeling is that this is a critical time for processors and moldmakers to participate in shaping e-commerce in the chemicals, plastics and metalworking markets. This is a field in which a lot of educated guesses about customer preferences are being made. I suggest you sample the on-line forums and purchasing options, make your opinions known, and direct the development of these tools in a way that benefits you, the customer.

Note how Gellrich describes Elf Atochem’s strategy: “We’re trying to gather as much information as possible in a number of initiatives, test them out in various businesses, find out what made those initiatives successful or unsuccessful, and then rapidly implement the successful ones throughout the company.”

Speak up now or forever hold your peace.

(4) www.elf-atochem.com

NEXT MONTH

OEMs are turning to Web-based sourcing and on-line supply chain management. What does it mean for your business?


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