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E-Marketplace Plans To Help Customers Get Online Fast

Quadrem taps third-party providers to offer pre-integrated software packages
Three E-marketplaces serving the metals industry went belly-up last month. Quadrem International Ltd., a marketplace for the mining, metals, and minerals industry, doesn't want to be the fourth casualty. It thinks it can avoid that fate by making it easier for buyers and suppliers to participate in the exchange. Toward that end, Quadrem last week said it will offer pre-integrated software packages that let customers build marketplace storefronts, manage catalog content, and integrate with back-end systems.

The exchange is relying on systems integrators to provide these services; Accenture has signed on as its first partner. Accenture will integrate software from Click Commerce, Intershop Communications, Microsoft, and Peregrine Systems to streamline online procurement, delivery scheduling, and collaborative product design. The exchange plans to add more systems integrators.

Quadrem launched in February with the backing of 20 large companies, including Alcan, Alcoa, and De Beers Group. More than 22 suppliers and 10 buyers use the exchange to procure spare parts, fuel, explosives, and maintenance materials. Quadrem hopes to have 400 suppliers by year's end and to add financial, logistics, collaboration, and analysis services.

But some suppliers still say they're troubled less by the prospect of implementing new technology than by the squeeze taking place on exchanges. Marmon Keystone Corp.'s Salt Lake City valve and fittings division was already doing business with some buyers that joined Quadrem, and it signed up with the exchange early on in hopes of increasing sales prospects. But Mike Buchanan, Marmon Keystone's valve and fittings division manager, says the company has lost interest. The lowest bidders typically win the business, Buchanan says, and "that kind of price-cutting doesn't give suppliers much incentive to use the site."

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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
Greg Douglass, Global Lead for Technology Strategy & Advisory, Accenture
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter