Despite the challenges ahead, Spears, for one, remains enthusiastic about a market space that he believes is helping to build the fundamental infrastructure for how business will be conducted in the near future. "It's been an incredibly fun ride," he says. "I'm passionate about the business inasmuch as I really do believe that we're building the railroad track, the fiber optics for business-to-business communication. To be doing that is a real challenge but also a real privilege in many ways."
- An e-Marketplace Believer
John Djurasaj, head of procurement at Redford, Mich.-based Die-Mation Engineering, has been hooked on e-marketplace MFG.com since he first tried the industrial e-marketplace back in February. On that first try, Djurasaj received 20 responses to a request for quote, 10 times the number that he got on another site he tried at the same time. Since then, he's put close to 500 RFQs through the MFG.com site, and he says that the results have included significant cost savings for his company, an automotive industry supplier that designs and builds tooling, gages and assembly automation machinery.
"For example," Djurasaj says, "our general manager and I were both quoting the same work, tooling for conveyers. He used his conventional sources, and I used my MFG.com sources, and I came in almost $90,000 below his quotes. And the job has already been delivered, and it was delivered on time."
As a result of Djurasaj's success on the site, everything that Die-Mation puts out to bid must go out to MFG.com in addition to the company's traditional suppliers. "Everything that I've quoted on MFG.com, somebody else is quoting the same part at my facility, and I've yet to see a quote go to a source outside MFG.com," says Djurasaj, who adds that he has only seen one supplier on the site that "probably shouldn't be on there."
Djurasaj has tried other sites in the industrial space, including First Index and SourceAuthority.com, as well as sites like Alibaba.com, Made-in-China.com and ECTrade.com, but he says that he plans to stick with MFG.com. "If you're producing parts and building machines," he says, "if you're not using MFG.com, you're an idiot."
What Was in a Name?
In 2000, in an article in this magazine, the writer Anne Field produced a list of 13 different names for e-marketplaces, or what Field called "Net markets," based on information from the research organization Net Market Makers. Field's list:
3. Electronic markets
5. Internet markets
7. Vertical hubs
9. Butterfly markets
10. Vortex businesses
11. Digital exchanges
12. Online exchanges
13. Fat butterfly
Companies Mentioned in This Article
Optical Cable Corporation